The first project of Anthony and Joe Russo since their stint at Marvel has dropped recently. The film, Cherry, is currently available on the streaming platform, Apple TV+. It is an adaptation of the biography of a medic who had served in the United States Army. The main character Cherry is played by Tom Holland. Nico Walker had written a semi-autobiographical novel called Cherry chronicling his struggle with drugs after his term in the military.
The film has a broken timeline as it shows different points in Walker’s life one after another. The first half of the film depicts Cherry’s experiences as a young adult going through college. There, a splendid girl called Emily is revealed as the romantic partner. However, Cherry also enlists himself in the Army.
He is assigned as a field medic during the war in Iraq. Cherry fails to escape the trauma he suffers during his tenure even after coming back home. As a result, the character gets addicted to the drug Oxycontin. Moreover, Emily also becomes a companion in the addiction spiral, which now has turned to heroin. This becomes the driving force in the plot of the second half.
The Cast Of Cherry
The main feature of the film is Tom Holland. His character arc involves a tragic bout of drug addiction as a result of his life in the Army. He sees himself lose control over his life. Emily, in the beginning, was an essential support for him emotionally. However, after Emily becomes addicted as well, the two characters become equally dependent on each other.
Holland’s biggest break so far has been in the role of Peter Parker or Spiderman in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He had debuted in The Impossible where he had played Lucas. He has also been featured in The Impossible and The Lost City of Z. His most recent role was The Devil All the Time as Arvin. The next installment in the current Spiderman series, Spider-man: No Way Home is slated to be released in the last month of this year.
Cherry’s love since his college days, Emily, is portrayed by Ciara Bravo. Her character falls in love with Cherry at first sight. However, his lover’s decision to enlist in the military takes her aback. However, Emily remains faithful to Cherry till he comes back. Eventually, she falls into the tragic hole of addiction while supporting his boyfriend through it. Cherry then becomes the supplier of the drugs for her.
She has featured in To The Bone and Red Band Society as Tracy and Emma Chota respectively. In the cast of the TV Series Wayne, she had the role of Delilah Luccetti. Another notable mention would be her role of Mary Smith in the first season of The Teacher.
The small but noticeable role of Tommy is played by Michael Rispoli. Cherry takes care of the wiseguy at the beginning of the film. Big Joe in Kick-Ass and Jackie Aprile in The Sopranos are some of his past roles. Two recent features would be in The Deuce as Rudy Pipilo and Billions as Richie Sansome.
Pills & Coke is the name of the drug dealer in the film. The character is played by Jack Reynor. Pills & Coke is a steady reason behind the gradual addiction that Cherry and Emily experience. Reynor can be remembered for his role in the film Transformers: Age Of Extinction as Shane Dyson. He has also featured in Sing Street as Brendan and in 2019 the critically acclaimed Midsommar as Christian.
Forrest Goodluck is cast as James Lightfoot, one of Cherry’s friends throughout his life. However, James is portrayed as struggling with drugs himself which inadvertently ends up causing a lot more trouble for Holland. He was a part of the cast of The Revenant as Hawk and The Miseducation of Cameron Post as Adam.
Cherry’s best friend during his service in the military is Jimenez, played by Jeff Wahlberg. He had featured in Don’t Come Back From The Moon in the role of Mickey Smalley and Dora and the Lost City of Gold as Diego.
Other notable mentions who feature in the supporting cast to Holland’s character are Daniel R. Hill, Michael Gandolfini, Damon Wayans Jr., Thomas Lennon, and Kelli Burgland.
The Suffering In Cherry
The Russo brothers’ newest attempt handles one of the grimmest topics: drug addiction. A portrayal of a drug addict in a fictional setting is a tough act to pin down. Critics argue that it is more of the same in Cherry as the topic is dragged on a bit too much. Junkies offer much in terms of cinematic experience when they are discovering the false ecstasy of addiction for the first time. After they have become junkies, however, it becomes a difficult sight to keep watching. Moreover, drug addiction is attributed to the character’s personal life choices regardless of what they might be suffering from. Critics say Cherry is prone to be received as an object of pity and/or scorn.
Cherry, as a character, has hardly any distinguishing features. The film pairs him up with Emily right at the start of the film. Nothing is told as to the lives the characters had led that far. However, there is a brief allusion to Emily with a bruise on her eye.
The two are shown as deeply in love. However, the first crisis of the film arrives when Emily says that she has to move to Montreal because she will be changing schools. Shocked and despairing at the sudden news, Cherry signs up for the military. However, it turns out that Emily’s move has been canceled. The two get married.
After this, the film takes a daunting stroll through the modern battlefield of Iraq. After the whole ordeal, Cherry returns as nothing more than a husk. He then resorts to drugs to escape even if it means for a few moments. Emily also falls into the trap. Eventually, Cherry grows increasingly desperate and turns to crime to support their addiction. The film depicts the mental situation of the film through brief and direct voiceovers from the characters. The whole situation spirals out of control of Cherry soon after.
The film also includes sarcastic quips at the state of the world. Examples would include the name of the robbed bank and that of the psychiatrist. This sense of criticism may be a reference to the classic Trainspotting. The film is one of the best portrayals of drug addiction.
Cherry’s Mixed Reception
The original story had been written by Nico Walker while in prison for the robberies he had committed. The darker parts of Cherry’s experience as a drug addict are focused on in the film. This serves to amplify the suffering that the life of the addict is undergoing.
Holland’s acting has been received as excellent. One of the scenes in which he makes a phone call to Emily while he is in the middle of the war is an example of his acting prowess.
Cherry has received a mixed response, slowly trending towards negative. However, the film is a grim and gritty depiction of a real-life tragedy. It is also a lot different than the Russo brothers’ past few films.