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When watching Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke in Raymond & Rayplaying with each other so comfortably and authentically like a pair of half-brothers emotionally shaken by their late father that it’s almost impossible to believe they’ve never worked together before, let alone on one thing or another. way not related.

They owe Rodrigo Garcia for the introduction, and they in turn repaid the filmmaker known for his portrayals of complex women in films like Nine lives and Albert Nobbs with a winning dive into contemporary masculinity and all its idiosyncrasies that is perceived as tenderly as it is laughably funny. Viewers could find plenty to enjoy, not to mention to identify with, when the original Apple movie, which debuted at TIFF, arrives on streamer and in select theaters on October 21.

Raymond & Ray

It comes down to

A grippingly entertaining tragicomedy.

Location: Toronto International Film Festival (Gala Presentations)
Publication date: Friday, October 21 (Apple TV+)
Form: Ethan Hawke, Ewan McGregor, Maribel Verdu, Vondie Curtis Hall, Sophie Okonedo
Director-Scriptwriter: Rodrigo Garcia

Rated R, 1 hour 46 minutes

The father’s sins are easily reflected in the damaged goods that are McGregor’s Raymond and Hawke’s Ray (they were actually both called Raymond by their abusive father, Harris, to mess with them), who reunite after a long time apart for their funeral of an old man.

In some ways, the Felix for Ray’s Oscar, Raymond has a cautious, dutiful reserve that barely contains the frustration and sense of failure that bubble to the surface after two divorces and one divorce. Melancholy Ray, a recovering heroin addict and failed trumpeter whose bad boy vulnerability is catnip to virtually every woman he meets, manages to put aside the initial bickering and find common ground in their shared desire to see their father buried beneath it, what would hopefully give them the much-needed closure.

But when they arrive at the funeral home, they begin to realize that the person they thought they knew was regarded by others as a remarkable man, especially the feisty Lucia (played to irresistible perfection by the Spanish Maribel Verdu), who is the last flirt of was their father, and mother to the little brother they never knew they had. More siblings emerge from the woodwork in the cemetery, where Harris’s dying wish was for his sons to dig his grave (among other bizarre stipulations) and where things, unsurprisingly, reach a amusingly absurd climax before they reach it. set the stage for a necessary cure.

Garcia’s beautifully calibrated, life-reflecting scripted tragicomic tapestries and unhurried directing give the performances plenty of breathing room, in part paying tribute to old-school buddy movies from the 1970s. In addition to McGregor, Hawke (who also gets the chance to show off the trumpet -handling skills he gained playing Chet Baker in Born to be blue), and the vivacious Verdu, the rest of the ensemble — including a soulful Sophie Okonedo as their father’s former nurse and Vondie Curtis Hall as his stunned “spiritual guide,” Rev. Red West – each get their time to shine.

There is a predominant naturalism in the production locations in Richmond, Virginia, richly captured by cinematographer Igor Jadue-Lillo, while composer Jeff Beal accentuates the melancholy with a sparse, moody jazz trumpet score.

While the film struggles a bit to come up with an equally fluid exit strategy, in an effort to offer both Raymond and Ray a possible second act, courtesy of Verdu and Okonedo respectively, Garcia’s final investigation into the human condition is nevertheless more than capable of turning the fun back into dysfunctional.

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