Apple TV+ film review: Cherry
Ivan Radford | On 13, Mar 2021
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Cast: Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor
Watch Cherry online in the UK: Apple TV+
War. Bank heists. Drug addiction. It sounds like the making of a thrilling film, but Cherry, Apple TV+’s latest original movie, is as dull as it gets. The fact that it’s from the directors of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame makes the sheer lack of excitement even more bewildering.
The film is based on Nico Walker’s semi-autobiographical novel from 2018, which follows Cherry (Tom Holland), a young college student who – after a sort-of break-up with his girlfriend, Emily (Ciara Bravo) – flunks out and joins the army. After a stint in Iraq as a military medic, he returns to normal life haunted by PTSD. Finding escape from his troubles in heroin, he takes Emily with him into a drug-fuelled stupor, and ends up having to rob banks to make ends meet.
It’s easy to see why the material appeals to all involved: it covers almost every genre imaginable, giving Spider-Man du jour Holland a chance to prove his dramatic chops in serious, adult cinema, and Anthony and Joe Russo the opportunity to direct something more grounded than superhero action. But everyone involved is so eager to pore through Cherry’s story in every agonising detail that the whole thing becomes tedious. Do we need to spend half an hour in a sub-Full Metal Jacket war movie to understand his trauma? A prologue involving a former girlfriend to sympathise with our protagonist? Or a voiceover that spells out Cherry’s every emotion to the point where it’s stating the obvious?
Running for two and a half hours, the result is an over-baked pudding of a film, with stylistic flourishes such as frequent overhead shots only highlighting how disappointingly stodgy the whole thing is. Holland and Bravo are reduced to shouting at other to bring substance or depth to the never-ending saga, but it only ends up becoming repetitive. There are moments of melancholic clarity that burst through the sheer amount of Acting and Directing, when its two leads get to quietly bring home the tragedy of their mutually destructive bond, but with everything turned up to 11, any individual merits are drowned out by a film that doesn’t know when enough’s enough.
Cherry is available on Apple TV+, as part of a £4.99 monthly subscription, with a seven-day free trial. For more information on Apple TV+ and how to get it, click here.