Rated: R for sexual content, language throughout, some violence and drug use. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: September 25, 2015 Released by:
Uneven, grandiose fictional drama shot in Montreal from the maker of White House Down and Anonymous doesn't capture the veracity and tenor of a seminal event on June 28, 1969.
Stonewall is constructed around the vantage point of gay Midwesterner Danny Winter (Jeremy Irvine of War Horse and Great Expectations) who relocated to a syndicate-run eponymous inn in Greenwich Village. Heavy police harassment against the lesbians and gays there led to rioting and ultimately the gay rights movement.
Seeing Danny immersed into this culture puts into motion a hackneyed script by Jon Baitz that aims for emotional uplift but it can be found more easily on non-fictional depictions of the event (and what surrounded it) in The Stonewall Uprising (a more factual representation, for example). Danny is just swept into the heat of the moment and stress-outs as a coming-of-age romance develops and Irvine's talents are just beset by the level of the material, the approach and execution. Perhaps what would make less discerning cineastes invested to a degree on a personal level even if how the uprising is initiated.
But, the overt supporting performances by the likes of Caleb Landry Jones, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Trevor and Ron Perlman (Hellboy, F/X's Sons of Anarchy) as nightclub "proprietor"
Ed Murphy hardly register. At least not as much as the efforts of Jonny Beuchamp in perhaps the film's most resonant turn. It's clear that the pompously pretentious are hardly doctored enough to elicit a modicum of cinematic fertility. "Stonewall" just can't overcome its ignominious aura and production.