In one of the scenes in the movie Cherry, the camera focuses on Tom Holland’s face for a long minute. Her expression goes from absolute horror to exhaustion. All with just a couple of gestures, narrowed eyes and tight mouth. Scary? Tensile? Of fury?
It is not easy to understand what happens to Holland’s character in a film that bets on emotional nuances. But the actor manages to provide a deep notion about the inner world of his character. He sustains the internal tension that shakes him, while showing the invisible suffering that leads Nico Walker, a war veteran and criminal by necessity, to face whatever his destiny faces.
‘Cherry’: from book to screen
It is surprising how the Russo brothers manage to make the homonymous semi-autobiographical work in which they based on the film takes on a deep tragic dimension on screen. In its paper version, the story of the army doctor returning to civilian life has something sordid about it. The character is torn between his experiences in Iraq, severe post-traumatic stress disorder and heroin addiction. The tour is chilling. Nico loses his life as he knew it, and ends up involved in a series of criminal situations that end up crushing him and destroying his sanity.
For the film adaptation, the Russo brothers make the intelligent decision to focus the series of misfortunes that the character suffers, in the notion of the loss of your identity. Holland (who looks unrecognizable on paper), gives the cinematic Nico Walker a unique dual personality. From frailty to rage, Nico seems unable to comprehend how his life was fragmented from a traumatic event.
The directors, one of the centerpieces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, display an exemplary dramatic pulse in Cherry. The movie it’s a well thought-out journey through emotional darkness, of a man who cannot recover from his mental injuries.
Between the hero and the victim
The script reflects on the world turned into an invisible enemy. The film is interested in showing how Nico perceives the loss of everything that he considered valuable. Does not emphasize morbid details about addiction or a complex psychiatric picture. All the shadows in Nico’s life relate to a deep well of despair, which Holland shows with a contained and careful performance.
Beyond him, what surrounds him seems to conspire in a violent way so that the character finds himself in the middle of the dilemma of breaking the law – his ideals – or move in some direction in the gloom. And although the decision seems obvious, the directors manage to create a claustrophobic and harrowing environment that sustains the film until the way Nico behaves is believable.
He is a complex character because in reality he is not a typical antihero, but a victim. At the same time, it is a criminal who must bear the burden of blame in a rational way. All while fighting as best he can between moral and ethical struggles, heroin addiction and an increasingly complex psychiatric picture.
A new profile for Holland in ‘Cherry’
Holland gives a certain devastated fragility to a man who ends up on a harrowing journey to nowhere. Because in reality, and in the same way as the novel, everything Nico does or decides, leads him towards a kind of tragedy that is difficult to understand. The script does not appeal to dramaInstead, he focuses his attention on how the character manages to resolve the trade-off between good and evil.
Of course, the most intriguing point in the story is the long criminal road that Nico travels, in the midst of his need for atonement. The true story includes a Succession of ten bank robberies that made Cleveland history. The Russos manage to print the same vital and frenetic air of their most commercial films to a new, more modulated discourse.
The best of the Russo business in a totally different register
The character goes from one side to the other in the middle of a hectic race against time and justice. The Russos They drink from the tradition of the best Heist movies to create an increasingly disordered perception of urgency. Much like Sidney Lumet in the ’75 classic Dog Day Afternoon, bank robberies are solved in tough, emotional scenes.
The directors find a point of obvious parallel between Nico’s inner world – increasingly devastated – and the way in which violence manifests itself.
Of course, Nico’s fast and increasingly bizarre criminal career is portrayed as a series of action sequences of curious energy. But the Russos do not forget that Cherry depends on the verisimilitude of her character. And that’s when Holland manages to hold on his shoulders the narrative lines that intersect about this addict, terrified by his slow collapse and seduced by risk. The result is a double look at the man who wields the gun, and the mental pains that afflict him.
The great references
At certain points it is evident that Cherry takes some of her ideas from the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can by Steven Spielberg. In the same way as Leonardo DiCaprio’s Frank Abegnale Jr., Holland’s Nico Walker is an elusive figure. A construction that works on emotion and it manifests itself in the need to continue despite the risk.
This is what makes Cherry a very rare combination of tone and rhythm that at times can confuse but in the end, It is effective due to the good handling of the script of its most complex points.
The article Criticism of ‘Cherry’ by the Russo brothers: Tom Holland shows that there is life beyond ‘Spider-Man’ was published in Hypertext.