REVIEW: ‘Ray Donovan: The Movie’ Serves As A Fitting Finale For The Showtime Series

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Ray Donovan The Movie - But Why Tho

Ray Donovan: The Movie is a Showtime Original Movie, directed by David Hollander and written by Hollander & Liev Schrieber. It’s based on the Showtime series created by Ann Biderman. Picking up after the Season 7 finale, the film follows Donovan (Schrieber) as he travels back to his hometown of South Boston to kill his father Mickey (Jon Voight). Flashbacks reveal Ray’s complicated past with Mickey, and how it shaped his career as a Hollywood fixer-as well as his relationship with his brothers and daughter Bridget (Kerris Dorsey).

Showtime shocked longtime fans of Ray Donovan when it announced the series’ cancellation back in 2020; the show had been a longtime staple of Showtime’s lineup, and its ending left a number of loose threads that needed to be tied up. Thankfully, Hollander-who was the series’ showrunner at the time-and Schrieber, who served as an executive producer in addition to being the series lead, have the chance to address those loose ends in this film. And while films that double as the grand finale for a TV series are becoming more and more commonplace-see El Camino for Breaking Bad and Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans for the Tales of Arcadia saga-Ray Donovan is a unique case as it comes on the heels of Dexter: New Blood, another project meant to give a satisfying end to a Showtime series.

The biggest draw of the film is the relationship between Ray and Mickey-or rather, it’s beginning and its end. The flashbacks, which were a large part of Season 7, return to show how Mickey’s distance from his son and his shady lifestyle had an effect on his son, for better and worse. “Worse” seems to win out, as the two come to blows early in the film after the death of Ray’s sister. And for anyone who’s followed the show since the beginning, it’s clear that the scars of the past are still in Ray’s soul. “Trauma is a thief,” Ray’s therapist Dr. Arthur Amiot (Alan Alda) tells him during a phone conversation; it turns out to be a rather prophetic statement as the fallout from Mickey’s actions have literally robbed Ray of his siblings in various ways and Bridget of her husband.

In addition to co-writing the film, Schrieber delivers a compelling performance as Donovan. He rarely speaks, but when he does his deep timbre lends weight to every word he utters. And his composure rarely breaks-except for when he’s sharing space with Mickey or Bridget. It makes sense, in a way: Mickey led Ray down a path of violence and he’s tried to keep Bridget from that life but it ended up pulling her into its grasp. Bridget even tells Ray point-blank in a climactic scene that the cycle of violence that began with Mickey has to stop, one way or the other. I’m glad that the film continues to explore themes of family and trauma that served as the show’s foundation; it helps the story stay true to what the show built.

Hollander also stays true to the show’s darker tone, punctuating the narrative with bursts of violence-including a grisly shootout and car chase. He also leaps backward and forwards in time, with the past sections being the most compelling part of the film thanks to Chris Gray and Bill Heck who play the younger Ray and younger Mickey respectively. It’s a shame that other characters don’t get that much focus; Ray’s brothers Terry (Eddie Marsan), Bunchy (Dash Mihok), and Daryll (Pooch Hall) more or less receive quick scenes to tie up their own storylines, which feel rather jarring. Similarly, the film could have made better use of Kerry Condon, who plays Ray’s girlfriend Molly; with so many characters to juggle, the film could have used an extra few minutes added to its two-hour runtime in order to properly service its ensemble.

Ray Donovan: The Movie serves as both a fitting finale for the Showtime series and an exploration of the title character’s past, especially when it comes to his relationship with his father. Mileage may vary with fans, but I feel that those who have followed the series since its beginning will be happy with the end results.

Ray Donovan: The Movie is currently playing on Showtime and is available to stream on Showtime’s official website.


Ray Donovan: The Movie
  • 7.5/10
    Rating - 7.5/10
7.5/10

TL;DR

Ray Donovan: The Movie serves as both a fitting finale for the Showtime series and an exploration of the title character’s past, especially when it comes to his relationship with his father. Mileage may vary with fans, but I feel that those who have followed the series since its beginning will be happy with the end results.