Inherit the Viper: Isn’t A Masterpiece, But Still It Fascinates
Josie… promise me something.
Protecting this family comes first.
When it’s time to quit, we quit.
No questions asked.
Everyone knows the principle of the “American Dream”. The ideal image of a hard-working American who, regardless of his origin, can reach the top through hard work and commitment. “Inherit the Viper” shows the other side of the coin. A film about American citizens who experience the “American Nightmare”. They are part of agglomerations located in remote areas where poverty prevails and survival instinct is a necessity. An additional problem in recent years in the U.S. is the opioid crisis that causes an unprecedented number of victims. This widespread addiction is the Conley family’s important source of income. Apparently they inherited the business from their deceased father. Although, the storyline about what happened to him wasn’t really clear to me.
More a family drama than a crime story.
“Inherit the Viper” is primarily a crime thriller in which the Conley family, consisting of sister Josie (Margarita Levieva) and her two brothers Kip (Josh “Pearl Harbor” Hartnett) and Boots (Owen “IT” Teague), try to make ends meet by running a thriving drug-dealing business somewhere in Appalachia (especially the opioid pills OxyContin) and to sell pills to the locals massively. Even though the subject lends itself to the elaboration of a solid crime story, this film is rather a family drama in which the dynamic between the different family members is central. A family triangle with opposite character traits.
Josie is the tough little cookie from the family whose numbness has reached shocking proportions. Without hesitation, she puts a freshly sold pill back in her pocket that she finds next to the body of an addicted old woman who just died. Self-interest has more priority to her than compassion for a fellow person. Hence the explanation for a later initiative she takes and which shows how numb she is. Kip is an ex-soldier. A hardened and fearless gut-eater who knows the tricks of the trade. Yet he’s the one who would prefer to stop with the family business in order to build a safer future with his heavily pregnant girlfriend. And finally, you have Boots, the benjamin of the family. This impetuous teenager wants nothing more than to get into the family business as quickly as possible. Because this is still being put on hold by brother and especially his sister, it’s Boots who takes an initiative. Unfortunately, things are not going the way he’d hoped.
Not a masterpiece but still fascinating.
“Inherit the Viper” isn’t a masterpiece, but still it fascinates. It’s a gray, dark (literally and figuratively) portrait about despair and how to survive in a run-down and soulless corner in American society. A life without a future that requires the protagonists to make unworthy decisions. No shred of compassion is shown. It’s all about supporting the family. Although you feel the tension constantly and the Conley family is slowly but surely confronted with threatening situations (a police investigation is in progress resulting in an accusing finger pointing at them and revenge-seeking city dwellers who have lost someone thanks to the Conley’s threaten them) there are very few action-rich or criminal scenes. This is largely compensated by the interesting interactions and the realistic appearance of the film. The most colorful role is that of Bruce Dern as the obscure, critically ill bar owner where Josie deals pills. A local character who isn’t amused with the fact that corpses are piling up in his bar and whose metaphorical story actually uncovers the essence of what this film is about. And also it’s an explanation of the film title. Although I am not 100% sure about that either.
Worth a watch.
The denouement managed to surprise me in a certain way. And I was also pleased to see that Josh Hartnett hasn’t slipped off the grid. If you come across “Inherit the Viper” on a VOD service, I recommend to give it a chance. This dark film is worth a watch.
My rating 6/10
Ruth Negga Set to Co-Star with Jake Gyllenhaal in AppleTV+ Series, ‘Presumed Innocent’
After the holiday season, we finally have some news to report in the world of film and television! According to an exclusive from Deadline, Oscar-nominated actress Ruth Negga (Loving, Passing) is set to co-star in the AppleTV+ series, Presumed Innocent along with Jake Gyllenhaal.
Negga will join the ranks of many other stars recently attaching themselves to Apple streaming series including Brie Larson, Meryl Streep, Edward Norton and Harrison Ford. Interestingly enough, Presumed Innocent is a television adaptation of the 1990 film starring the latter Ford, whose part will be played by Gyllenhaal in the series for the streamer. The series follows a horrifying murder that takes place in Chicago when the Chicago’s Prosecutor’s Office gets turned upside down when one of its own becomes the prime suspect. Negga will play Barbara Sabich, an artist, gallerist, mother and wife who is married to Gyllenhaal’s character. The role of Barbara was played by Bonnie Bedelia in the original movie.
The series, which has been a hot package since Gyllenhaal has been in discussions to star, is also set to have creative forces such as David E. Kelley and J.J. Abrams behind it. Kelley will act as showrunner, writer and executive producer for the show while Abrams will also act as an executive producer. Anne Sewitsky (A Very British Scandal, Black Mirror) will direct the first two episodes.
Negga most recently earned a Tony nomination for her role in Macbeth on Broadway alongside Daniel Craig. She also has an Oscar-nomination for her starring role in Loving. Negga last starred in Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut, Passing, in 2021 and will also star in Dan Levy’s directorial debut, Good Grief which is currently filming.
Matt Damon and Casey Affleck to Reunite for Heist Film, ‘The Instigators’ at Apple
After previously collaborating in the Ocean’s trilogy and Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon (The Martian, The Departed) and Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea, Gone Baby Gone) are set to lead another heist film for Apple titled The Instigators. According to an exclusive from Deadline, the two actors will star in the film as two thieves who must go on the run with one of their therapists after a bank robbery gone wrong. It truly sounds like a mixture of the heist elements of the Ocean’s films with some therapeutic elements reminiscent of Good Will Hunting along the way whilst on the run.
While there are no casting details on who will be the therapist this time around, we can confirm that Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity) will direct the film. The package was highly coveted by multiple streamers with Apple putting up the cash to make the deal happen and bring in even more star power to their Apple Original Films banner. It’s a good relationship to get started as Damon and Casey’s big brother, Ben Affleck recently announced their new production banner, Artists Equity with The Instigators being announced as one of their first projects in development. Chuck MacLean, who created the recently cancelled Boston-set cop drama, City on a Hill, will write the script.
Damon has always been very active in the film industry, but his upcoming slate is one that would excite almost any movie fan. First, Damon will appear in the Christopher Nolan atomic bomber biopic, Oppenheimer, where Peaky Blinders star, Cillian Murphy plays the titular J. Robert Oppenheimer. Damon is just one of the stars of the remarkable ensemble that has been assembled by Nolan which also includes Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Gary Oldman, Casey Affleck and Rami Malek, just to name a few. Additionally, the first project announced for the Artists Equity production company, is Air Jordan, a film in which Ben Affleck and Damon play the shoe salesmen who helped lure Michael Jordan to Nike. The latter will be the first feature directed by Affleck since his gangster flick, Live by Night back in 2016.
On the other hand, Casey Affleck, who won the Academy Award for Lead Actor for his performance in Manchester by the Sea has mostly floated under the radar since then. The younger Affleck does have a two-hander music biopic, Dreamin’ Wild in the can co-starring with Zooey Deschanel that is awaiting wide release. He’s also set to lead the next Joe Wright film, Stoner and star alongside Laurence Fishburne in the sci-fi film, Slingshot.
Taron Egerton to Re-Team with ‘Black Bird’ Collaborators for AppleTV+ Series, ‘Firebug’ based on Famous Arsonist
Big day for news at Apple as it appears that Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Rocketman) will re-team with his Black Bird team returning to AppleTV+ for a new crime series, Firebug according to an exclusive from Deadline.
Firebug will bring Egerton back into the fold as Dennis Lehane (Black Bird, The Outsider) will reunite to create this series in which the actor will star as John Leonard Orr. Orr was an infamous investigator of arson and former firefighter, and the series will see Egerton following two serial arsonists trying to take down the fiery culprits. Lehane has written many novels based on some of the more famous and well-renowned drama features of modern times such as Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island. Egerton will be joined by another detective who has yet to be cast in the chase for the two arsonists committing the crimes.
Black Bird just garnered two Critics Choice Awards nominations for Paul Walter Hauser and the late Ray Liotta, who portrayed Egerton’s father in the series. Within the series also based on true events, Egerton plays Jimmy Keene who goes to jail for drug possession before cutting a deal with the FBI to befriend a suspected serial killer (played by Hauser). Additionally, Egerton will also star in the upcoming feature film, Tetris: The Movie for Apple and appear in the Netflix film, Carry On alongside Jason Bateman in 2023.
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