Gasoline Alley (2022) Film Review- Armessa Movie News


Films by Edward John Drake can be recognized from light years away. This is the filmmaker that  casts Bruce Willis and other relatively known actors almost all the time, and has been known to stay in a comfort zone when it comes to solving plot lines with lightweight scripts that seem to go nowhere during the third act.

Gasoline Alley is his latest and yes, the cast includes Bruce Willis. Luke Wilson as well as the detective with snarky comments that feel very unrealistic. However, there’s another addition to the film that feels like the entire reason it was made for. His name is Devon Sawa. Yes, that Devon you may recognize as a 90s teen throb. 

I will do my best not to write this review about the return of Sawa to the industry in the last few years. Nevertheless, Gasoline Alley is yet another opportunity to notice the resurgence of his career even if it stumbles with some questionable scripts. In this film, the actor elevates the whole production to levels the subgenre hasn’t been able to reach in the back alley of indie films. In Drake’s film, Sawa becomes the only reason to stay. And it’s worth the hassle.

In the rough side of Hollywood, Jimmy Jayne is trying to make a living with a tattoo parlor where guests don’t instantly recognize his past in a jail cell. He spends his nights in bars trying to forget about his past. He meets women and flirts a while, but apparently the encounters don’t go anywhere. 

Then murder strikes. And two detectives suspect Jimmy had something to do with it. A lighter seems to be the only piece of evidence connecting him with the massacre. Jimmy starts investigating and he comes upon a very dangerous truth about the culprits. Those murders only seem to be the beginning of a larger conspiracy that’s corrupted even the dark side of Hollywood.

Sawa’s performance is strong enough to dominate every scene he’s in. His passive attitude is loaded with trauma and he seems resentful of himself and where his life has taken him. Jimmy isn’t a complex character, yet Sawa makes him complex enough to be a showcase for the actor. His development from probable victim to hero is predictable but the performance makes it much more engaging than we think.

Gasoline Alley isn’t the strongest piece by Drake. Even Willis looks a bit out of range in the film. His scenes are scarce and the third act involves a twist that feels like a stretch. However, it’s a matter of script. One that could be doctored and it could be better. Sure, we’re aware we’re not watching the ultimate neo noir crime thriller that will blow everyone’s minds, but it makes for a Friday night where laid-back movies feel like a good option to have fun. This one goes by swiftly and it’s very well shot. That and the performance by Sawa are enough to make Gasoline Alley worth enough.

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Federico Furzan

Founder of Screentology. Member of the OFCS. RT Certified Critic

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– Armessa Movie News

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