Asphalt City (2023)

  • Year: 2023
  • Released: 29 Mar 2024
  • Country: United States
  • Adwords: 2 nominations
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: R
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller
  • Runtime: 120 min
  • Writer: Ben Mac Brown, Shannon Burke, Ryan King
  • Director: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire
  • Cast: Sean Penn, Tye Sheridan, Gbenga Akinnagbe
  • Keywords: new york city, based on novel or book, trauma, drugs, paramedic, medical,
55% – Critics
false% – Audience

Asphalt City Storyline

Asphalt City follows Ollie Cross (Tye Sheridan), a young paramedic assigned to the NYC night shift with an uncompromising and seasoned partner Gene Rutkovsky (Sean Penn). The dark nights reveal a city in crisis; Rutkovsky guides Cross, as each 911 call is often dangerous and uncertain, putting their lives on the line every day to help others. Cross soon discovers firsthand the chaos and awe of a job that careens from harrowing to heartfelt, testing his relationship with Rutkovsky and the ethical ambiguity that can be the difference between life and death.

Asphalt City Photos

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Asphalt City Movie Reviews

Also starring Mike Tyson!?

I can’t tell if that’s a step up for Mike or a step down for Sean Penn. Unfortunately for Penn, I need to say the latter. This movie came and went without any promotion for it, despite what a great film it is. Tye Sheridan got to flex his acting muscle sparing with Sean Penn and of course Mike Tyson, who was fit for the role so it made sense. The film kept reminding me of the Martina Scorsese film Brining up the Dead, which starred Nicolas Cage in a role similar to Sean Penn, in fact, the concept of both movies almost makes Asphalt City a sequel. It does not help that there are not enough movies about the subject to think otherwise.

Anyway, this movie is too good to be hidden away like it seems to be.

As gritty as the city in which it’s shot

“You can’t save everyone.”

That’s the most important lesson that rookie FDNY paramedic Ollie Cross (Tye Sheridan) needs to learn from his veteran partner Gene Rutkovsky (Sean Penn) in the dark and edgy new film, Asphalt City.

The pressure of knowing you’re the only thing that might be keeping a victim from turning into a fatality haunts the duo as they drive the overnight shift on the mean streets of East New York.

Gunshot victims, heart attacks, premature births, dog bites, gang violence, and schizophrenics are just a sample of the people who we briefly meet and are just as quickly dismissed and disguarded in Director Jean-Stephane Sauvaire’s new film. Like the EMT crew, we’re never given time to care about these people, especially those who may be one short push from the grave.

And that’s the point that Rutkovsky continually tries to impress on his new partner. Do what you can, in the time that you have, and move on. Don’t remember their faces. Don’t remember their families. Because to carry that with you will drive you insane. Above all, don’t feel responsible because you didn’t put them on the ground with a fatal gunshot wound in their femoral artery.

Unfortunately, as the movie unfolds, “Rut” has a change in his personal circumstances and takes one case too much to heart. Meanwhile, Cross is struggling to keep his head above water. Between the low pay, his horrible living situation, and the lack of friends or family, Cross feel he is continually drowning in unending tragedies. He has zero confidence in his ability to save anything – not a gunshot victim, not even a dog.

One has to wonder, are the people who seek these jobs craving the absolute psychosis that comes with it, or are they made psychotic by the stream of crazy?

Cross does have a goal: to pass the MCAT and leave this dark, depressing world behind for the more regulated system of a hospital. But it’s obvious that he’s learning far more with his on-the-job training than he’ll learn in any study guide.

Mike Tyson pops up as Cross and Rut’s superior officer. Michael C. Pitt is cast as the EMT who’s chiefly entertained by picking on the new guy. Every one of the EMT’s seems to be walking PTSD victims.

Gritty. There’s no better word for Asphalt City. It’s a film as gritty as the city it portrays. You’ll be exhausted, but go for the rush.

Gritty Look At The Life Of A Paramedic

I saw Asphalt City, starring Sean Penn-Licorice Pizza, Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Tye Sheridan-Ready Player One, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse; Michael Pitt-Ghost in the Shell, Seven Psychopaths and Mike Tyson-A Madea Family Funeral, Ip Man 3.

If you ever wanted to know about the life of a paramedic, this movie is for you. It’s a dangerous job filled with life and death situations and the emotional strain is so bad that there is a high level of paramedics committing suicide. Sean plays a long_time_on_the_job paramedic that gets Tye as his new partner working the night shift. They go on lots of emergencies with gun shot victims, physical abusers, drug users, and even a drugged up pregnant woman. This can take it’s toll on anybody and Sean gets into trouble sometimes and gets suspended every once in a while because of his behavior. Michael is another medic that rides with Tye on those occasions and Mike plays their boss that usually does the suspending. It’s hard on relationships so there is a high level of divorce among paramedics. There is a message at the end of the movie stating the actual numbers and statistics.

It’s rated R for violence, bloody images, suicide, language and sexual content-including nudity-and has a running time of 2 hours.

I don’t think I would buy it on DVD but it would be a good one to stream, if you are interested in a gritty look at the life of a paramedic.