Raymond and Ray Review

Raymond and Ray mix two genres together to make a film that is basically a two-hander in the end. It’s a road trip film mixed with a mourning/funeral film. The draw for viewers to see this movie though is the two stars, Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke. They make the film enjoyable because of their chemistry together. Other than that it’s a pretty basic story.

Raymond and Ray (Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke) are two estranged brothers. When their abusive and not-very-good father dies they begrudgingly agree to take a trip together to where he has recently lived to settle their father’s estate and attend his unusual funeral. Once they get to town that’s when a lot of weird stuff comes to the surface involving their father and his past.

Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke are terrific opposite each other in this movie. They play off of each other’s characters perfectly. Hawke knows exactly what buttons to push that get MacGregor’s character all riled up. This causes their banter to turn into arguing. Some of this arguing can be funny and how they resolve it is always pretty good in the end. This is one of the best tandems I’ve seen this year. The film is not as good as the acting.

There have been a lot of films that deal with the death of a person or multiple people and there are funerals or mourning involved for these people or persons. Sometimes the films deal with these aspects very gracefully and professionally from the directorial standpoint. Other times these films make light of these types of circumstances in people’s lives. This movie is one of those that make light of the death of a character. It’s kind of ridiculous, to be honest. This story is a bit goofy considering the subject matter.

The cast besides McGregor and Hawke is filled with some good character actors and some relative newcomers. Todd Louiso is a funeral service operator, Vondie Curtis-Hall plays a pastor, Sophie Okonedo plays a nurse who attended to the decreased needs, and Maribel Verdu plays an explorer of the father who died. The latter two have a sexual interest in the two brothers which comes as a surprise to them both.

Raymond and Ray has some enjoyable aspects to it. Most notable are the two main actors McGregor and Hawke. If this film starred two other actors it may be a complete trainwreck. Instead, it’s a decent movie with a storyline that goes off of the rails in the end. The whole people having issues with their father’s story has been done to death before. It’s the whole funeral and burial segment of the movie that is goofy and ridiculous. This movie just loses its way by the end and that is pretty sad because these performances are wasted.

3 stars 

Dan Skip Allen

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