Ray Donovan: The Movie

Ray Donovan: The Movie ★★★★

Holy crap! How did I not hear a single thing about this wrap up film? "Ray Donovan" was a fairly schizophrenic TV show, one that would swing wildly between moments of brilliance and moments that would leave me scratching my head. The series primarily focused on Liev Schreiber as a Bostonian hardman working in LA as a fixer for the rich and powerful. It's closest comparison would be that of "The Sopranos" as Ray spends most of his time fixing the fuck ups of his volatile and self-destructive family, with his narcissistic father Mickey, played with intense gusto by Jon Voight, giving him most of his headaches.

Needless to say I followed the show from the first season and whilst the quality would fluctuate I was still invested enough in these (mostly) horrible, deeply-flawed characters that I was disappointed when Showtime cancelled the series after it's seventh season. So, it came as a surprise that after signing up to yet another fucking streaming service, Paramount+ just to watch "Yellowstone," I saw "Ray Donovan: The Movie" just sitting there all nonchalantly.

Does it even need saying that it's advisable to watch the first seven seasons before watching this film? By the looks of some reviews I've read I'd say yes. This film is VERY much for the fans. It's a direct follow on from the events of the series and it'll obviously spoil the story thus far. Is it watchable without seeing the series? Yes, but that that's like having a sandwich minus the filling and butter. Why would you even do that?

As a finale I thought that this film did a terrific job of resolving the outstanding plot threads that were left dangling. Terry and Bunchy get relegated to the sidelines and I'm okay with that. They have endings that both feel right for where their characters are at. However, the relationship between Ray and his father (Mickey) was always the meat of the story. This film goes into flashbacks that were surprisingly well done. I never cared much for Mickey but Bill Heck does a wonderful job as his younger counterpart, as does Chris Gray as young Ray. The dysfunctional relationship is brought full circle in a touching, bleak, yet somewhat optimistic fashion that left me feeling completely satisfied with the conclusion of the series.

This film does for "Ray Donovan" what the "Deadwood" movie did for that show. In fact feature length finales might be the way to go if they're as satisfying as these two were! All in all, this gives the fans everything they could've asked for and then some. Goodbye, Ray Ray!

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