‘Raymond & Ray’ Evaluation – Toronto Movie Pageant – Deadline

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Rodrigo Garcia’s charming two-hander Raymond & Ray is the double-act we by no means knew we would have liked, an unlikely pairing — Ethan Hawke and Ewan McGregor — in a equally sudden comedy from a director higher recognized for light female-fronted dramas. Reality be advised, Toronto’s Roy Thomson Corridor was a bit of massive for it (Sundance may need been a greater platform), however this TIFF Gala Presentation from AppleTV+ went over effectively and will effectively be this 12 months’s indie sleeper, with awards potential for its ensemble forged, and Hawke particularly.

The setting doesn’t recommend a barrel of guffaws — the uptight Ray (McGregor) turns up on the house of his laidback jazz musician half-brother Raymond (Hawke) with unhappy information: their father is lifeless. It quickly turns into clear that neither has any affection for the outdated man — he was, in any case, “a bitter son of a bitch” says Ray — however Raymond is insistent that they attend the funeral, if solely “to see what it appears to be like prefer to put him underground.” Ray relents, and the 2 males set off on a journey of self-discovery that takes many stunning and humorous turns, regardless of the obvious gravitas of the scenario.

Their father, known as Harris by the brothers, is the third wheel on this odd-couple situation, and the ache he brought on them in life is matched by the difficulty he makes in demise. To obtain their inheritance, the pair should dig his grave by sunset, however first they have to go to the funeral house, the place Harris has purchased the most cost effective coffin of all of them — a literal wood field — by which he has requested to be buried bare and face down, a weird customized that has one thing to do together with his “Tongan roots” (Harris seems to have reinvented himself rather a lot in later life, changing to Judaism from Buddhism). Then they go to his house to select up a ragtag number of heirlooms, which is the place they meet Lucia (Maribel Verdú), his free-spirited lover, and eventually they head to the chapel of relaxation, the place Ray encounters Kiera (Sophie Okonedo), Harris’ nurse in his dying days.

The 2 brothers have a beautiful sad-sack chemistry collectively — as Ray places it, they’re “a few grown-ass males whose lives didn’t pan out” — however their particular person identities are distinct. Raymond, nervous and fidgety, is on the finish of his third failed marriage, having suffered the indignity of being cuckolded by his personal father, whereas Ray, a swaggering womanizer, is on the rebound from a severe heroin habit. In the middle of the movie, every meets a lady who seems to be sympathetic to their wants, a barely schematic plot gadget that however works out because of the caliber of the forged.

Although each have equal display screen time, issues maybe work out a bit of higher for Hawke than they do for McGregor. Right here, McGregor is the comedian foil, and his timing is great, his startled-rabbit face doing the heavy lifting at any time when the dry existential humor threatens to cross over from Beckett into Monty Python territory (wait until the tumblers flip up). McGregor additionally will get to fireside a gun, a really humorous twist on Chekhov-ian conference that introduced the home down in Toronto.

Hawke, although, has extra of an arc, and his relationship with Harris will become the extra conflicted and mysterious of the 2. Whereas it’s great to see Verdú and Okonedo, each gifted and charismatic performers, their roles don’t go fairly as deep as the 2 guys’, and there comes some extent across the 80-minute mark the place Raymond & Ray appears to expire of street, leaving the remaining time to pair off the 2 {couples}, with various levels of success.

However, there’s rather a lot to love right here, and with the autumn pageant season failing fairly dramatically to supply up the awards-season juggernauts they promised in precept, García’s movie may creep on voters with a softly-softly marketing campaign based mostly on its powerhouse appearing credentials and poignant exploration of household secrets and techniques and ties. As Coda confirmed earlier within the 12 months, Apple has a little bit of kind in the case of that.

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