Dysfunctional family relationships, secrets and a lot of black humor are some of the elements that make up the essence of Raymond & Ray, a dramatic comedy directed by independent filmmaker Rodrigo García that arrived on the Apple TV+ platform on September 21 with the intention of offering an irreverent and carefree experience; however, at no point in his footage does he accomplish that purpose.
Trailer and Synopsis for Raymond and Ray
Long-estranged half-brothers Raymond (Ewan McGregor) and Ray (Ethan Hawke) reunite for their father’s funeral in a week filled with memories, surprises and offbeat occurrences.
Raymond & Ray Review
An excellent cast and a director who has an interesting filmography are not enough elements to save a poor production, which is not decided by an appropriate balance between comedy and drama, in addition to having a schematic structure, which far from surprising, It’s frustrating and expires.
What could have been one of the best independent films of the year remains an irregular experiment, without rhyme or reason and lacking in originality.
An uninteresting journey
From the first scene Raymond & Ray shows the narrative seams of his script. The introduction of the two brothers is rushed and the conversation they have in Ray’s living room does not offer any halfway interesting hints of what comes next. This is the first of many sequences that do not contribute anything relevant to the general plot and fail when trying to give depth to a narrative that lacks it.
García’s script is a bumpy journey through commonplaces of the imaginary associated with independent productions without contributing something new to traditional stereotypes. Topics such as grief, dysfunctional families and the different repercussions of abandonment have a conventional treatment and are hardly far from the superficial. A clear message is not perceived nor is there a substantial exploration that investigates the psyche of the characters. Everything is over explained and artificially presented.
A hodgepodge of ideas
Tone is another big problem. Raymond & Ray. There is no ideal balance between the different genres that make up the story. The comedy doesn’t shine, as the moments that are designed to make people laugh feel faked and too seen in previous productions. There is a recurring gag in the second part of the footage that has to do with the appearance of a number of key characters and, although it may initially elicit a few laughs, the emphasis placed on this element causes it to quickly lose its charm and, therefore, it does not work as it should.
Among all the failures, some glimmers of solidity can be found in Raymond & Ray. The performances of Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke are the best of the show. Both interpreters do what they can to bring their characters forward and deliver reliable work that, at times, transcends the poor construction of the individuals they represent.
On the other hand, the Spanish actress Maribel Verdú brings dynamism and mystery to her role as an independent and carefree woman who has a special connection with her stepbrothers.
The music is elegant and offers pleasant jazz-style compositions to the ear that correctly accompany the images on the tape.
Raymond & Ray It has the charisma of Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke, but it comes as no surprise given its predictable storyline and grotesque tone. What could have been a genius remains a want and I can’t without any kind of possible redemption.