The casting of Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke in Raymond & Ray is enough to pique one’s interest but neither can save the film.
On paper, this is a film that should work. In terms of execution, it fails on almost every level. I like both of the starring actors but in watching at home, the film had to fight for my attention. It’s never a good sign when a streaming film has to fight for one’s attention. When a film is that boring–and it is, sadly–it’s a good sign that maybe one should be watching something else. Listen, I hate to pan a film but as the great Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, I will do what I must.
This film follows a pair of half-brothers, Raymond (Ewan McGregor) and Ray (Ethan Hawke), after the death of their father. They couldn’t be more mismatched with each other in this film. Their dad wasn’t the nicest guy in the world but they’ve managed to hang onto their sense of humor. A sense of humor is one of the best coping mechanisms so that’s definitely a good thing. If you’re expecting an outright comedy, you need to prepare for disappointment. Anyway, Raymond and Ray set out on a 36-hour journey in order to bury their father. Aside from bickering with each other, there’s not much happening until they reach their destination.
There’s a lot of digging involved here and not just the gravedigging kind. But again, the film is just too much of a bore for any of it to feel compelling let alone captivating. I was supposed to see this film during one of the premiere screenings in Toronto. Because of timing, it didn’t quite work out and maybe that’s for the best. Is it possible that the film plays better by watching with an audience? I do not know but in watching at home, it did not get a single laugh out of me. I should note that comedies tend to get a better reaction when I’m watching with an audience. The energy can be rather contagious if you know what I mean.
About 1:35 into the film, we get the biggest reveal of the entire film. It’s perhaps the only moment in the film that really got me interested in what was happening on screen. Sadly, it comes too little, too late as the film wastes its actors throughout the rest of it.
Raymond & Ray is a film that might work on paper but is a yawnfest in execution.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Rodrigo Garcia
CAST: Ewan McGregor, Ethan Hawke, Maribel Verdú, Todd Louiso, Tom Bower, Oscar Nuñez, with Vondie Curtis Hall and Sophie Okonedo
Apple TV+ released Raymond and Ray in theaters and streaming on October 21, 2022. Grade: 1.5/5
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