The Mel Gibson Crime Thriller On Netflix Is One Of His Best Performances

By Kevin C. Neece | Published

mel gibson
Dragged Across Concrete

The grim, violent crime thriller Dragged Across Concrete, starring Mel Gibson, is streaming now on Netflix. The 2018 film comes from writer and director S. Craig Zahler, for whom this is his third time directing a feature. His previous two films were 2015’s Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99, released in 2017.

Dragged Across Concrete features an impressive ensemble cast that includes Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Tory Kittles, Michael Jai White, Jennifer Carpenter, Laurie Holden, Fred Melamed, Udo Kier, Thomas Kretschmann, and Don Johnson and is considered a neo-noir crime thriller. The film tells the story of two police detectives who have been friends since childhood but are suspended for police brutality. The pair find themselves badly in need of money and become involved in a robbery by a professional thief.

The grim, violent crime thriller Dragged Across Concrete, starring Mel Gibson, is streaming now on Netflix.

Immediately after completing Brawl in Cell Block 99, Zahler began working on the story for Dragged Across Concrete. Vaughn, Carpenter, and Johnson had all appeared in Brawl in Cell Block 99, which led to their casting in the new film. Vaughn had previously worked with Gibson on Hacksaw Ridge and connected Gibson with Zahler, who offered him the part in Dragged Across Concrete, which the actor accepted. Kittles and White joined the production sometime thereafter.

Dragged Across Concrete

Dragged Across Concrete began filming in July of 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and wrapped production that September. The film’s budget was lean, coming in at just $15 million, despite featuring Mel Gibson and other major stars. A premiere at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on September 3, 2018, was followed by a limited release to theaters with simultaneous streaming distribution.

Upon release, Dragged Across Concrete received criticism for its depiction of police brutality.

Distribution for Dragged Across Concrete was handled by Summit Entertainment, which released the film in March 2019. Initial critical reaction was somewhat mixed but mostly positive, with much attention placed on Gibson’s performance. The film also drew praise for its grim setting and darker themes. Its treatment of police brutality and its handling of racially charged themes was perceived as right-wing, causing it to meet with criticism for allegedly misrepresenting these realities.

Dragged Across Concrete was also criticized for its longer running time of 159 minutes and its violence, which many critics viewed as excessive. Despite these critical complaints, the film’s reception was mostly positive, even attracting some awards attention, though not all of it was welcome. While it received several Saturn Award nominations, it also received a nod at the 40th annual Golden Raspberry Awards for “Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property.”

The Dragged Across Concrete screenplay came in at 162 pages in length and was still at that length at the time of filming. Given the general filmmaking rule of thumb of one minute of screen time per page of written script, the film’s final version came in close to expectations. Zahler has said it is his favorite of the screenplays he has written and was influenced by multiple other films that he admires. These include Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing, as well as Dog Day Afternoon and Prince of the City, the latter of which Zahler claims is one of his favorite films.

Without a wide release, it’s hard to judge the box office for Dragged Across Concrete, but it’s been a constant streaming hit since landing on Netflix.

Dragged Across Concrete has an average score of 60 out of 100 on Metacritic, a result based on 28 critics, and an approval rating of 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The film focuses largely on world-building and character development, frequently pausing to explore moments that, while expanding the characters, do not necessarily move the plot forward. This does not seem to indicate that the film lags but rather that it is a grueling grind of a movie experience.

Dragged Across Concrete was released on digital, DVD, and Blu-ray in April of 2019 by Lionsgate, which owns Summit Entertainment as a subsidiary. It was also released across these three formats in the UK by Studio Canal. While it is a smaller film that has not gotten as much attention as some of the blockbusters to which he has been attached, Gibson’s performance in this film has been praised as one of the finest of his career, making the film that much more attractive to people who might find it interesting.

If you’re interested in Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, or writer and director S. Craig Zahler, or if you enjoy dark, grim, and violent dramas, Dragged Across Concrete is a film you might want to see. You can stream it now on Netflix.