'Ray Donovan: The Movie' Review: Gritty flick gives Liev Schreiber much-deserved send-off
It was one of those unexpected moves that saw quite the uproar. Before 'Ray Donovan: The Movie', the critically-acclaimed hit thriller show was canceled after Season 7. That meant Sabretooth-turned-fixer Ray (Liev Schreiber) had his story cut short. The cliffhangers deserved one more season, but it was shut down and that meant a movie was needed to give him the fitting send-off that he deserved. And it did.
The good thing about the feature-length film is that it gives a quick recap of season 7 and picks up from the events that it left off. Ray's pop Mickey (Jon Voight) has bagged the documents of Donovan's long-established rivals, the Sullivan clan. Even as Ray contemplates the consequences of their past, he can't really, and neither can his brothers, Terry (Eddie Marsan), Bunchy (Dash Mihok), and Daryll (Pooch Hall).
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The other major characters have their own stories that need closure as well. Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) becoming a widow was the result of her husband Smitty (Graham Rogers) dying in Donovan's shootout, and it's a bit of an existential crisis for the woman as she ponders whether she can wash her blood-stained hands after the violence her family has been part of in her younger days.
And for Ray, this one's a well-fleshed look at his past. A young Ray (Chris Gray) and the younger version of his father (Mickey) are quite the treat to watch as the movie provides enough to show how they grew up to be the people they are now. Switching to the present, Ray talks to his therapist in what comes across as a confession and it isn't a surprise when the audience knows whose blood he has on his hands. This isn't the same clinical Ray the world saw in 2013 where he uses his wits, style, and enough ammo to 'fix' things. He did that in his own way — living on coffee, the odd beer, and some quality Johnnie Walker Black.
This Ray is dangerous than his old version, and he's also in a way, at the end of his tether. This was probably the best role that Schreiber had. He was menacing, he could kill a man with his bare hands, but also look good while doing it. The movie comes with its share of callbacks and nostalgia but also slips in terms of the pacing at times. That said, it also tries to reason why it digresses. This was about Ray's formative years and the events that led to his present and that in the words of Bridget "had to end." It does and in style as Scheiber's character gets the goodbye he deserved.
'Ray Donovan: The Movie' airs on January 14 at 9 pm ET/PT on Showtime.