Sep 072021

The Gateway is only worth checking out if only for some solid performances, however the story is relatively thin and clocking in around 87 minutes doesn’t allow these characters to be developed.



The Gateway

Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Drama, Crime
Lionsgate| R – 91 min. – $21.99 | September 7, 2021

Date Published: 09/07/2021 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Michele Civetta
Writer(s): Alex Felix Bendaña (screen story), Alex Felix Bendaña and Andrew Levitas & Michele Civetta (screenplay)
Cast: Shea Whigham, Olivia Munn, Frank Grillo, Bruce Dern, Zach Avery, Taegen Burns, Mark Boone Junior, Taryn Manning


Features: Featurette, Trailer
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.00
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 23.90 GB
Total Bitrate: 32.53 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


Plot Synopsis: Parker (SHEA WHIGHAM) is a down-on-his-luck social worker who finds himself in over his head when he tries to protect his client (OLIVIA MUNN), and her daughter (TAEGEN BURNS), from her recently paroled husband (ZACH AVERY). Can Parker save the family from the violent threat of the maniacal drug dealer (FRANK GRILLO) and his crew, desperate to reclaim their priceless stash?

Review: The Gateway is one of those movies with a basic story but a lackluster screenplay that probably could’ve undergone more rewrites to better hone in on a central theme, which delves a little into the foster care system but doesn’t really bring it home, plus you have a side action with a gang ripping off drugs from a Mexican cartel; a decent sequence I suppose but only there to fuel a final confrontation in the end.

However even with a shaky plot, and one that does meander a bit along the way to a bloody finale, this does feature quite the cast. Shea Whigham, whom I recognize mostly as one of the detectives in Joker, is a great and mostly underutilized talent, reminded me a bit like John Hawkes, another actor relegated to mostly supporting roles but when he gets a lead (see 2011’s Martha Marcy May Marlene), he’s absolutely tremendous; same goes for Whigham, who gives a great performance in what otherwise is a character not fully realized.

The supporting cast also deliver the goods. Olivia Munn, whom I will always remember for Attack of the Show has shown herself to being a pretty decent dramatic actress, she doesn’t get a whole lot to work with outside of being an abused wife and struggling mother, but holds her own. Frank Grillo has an all too short role as a local gangster, likely all of his scenes were shot in a day (and shares no screen time with Whigham sadly). Bruce Dern does his best in another small but important role, as a father-figure to the Parker character who attempts to make amends for his past. Also featured in a tiny part, maybe 2 minutes of screen time is the wonderful Keith David.

The Gateway, titled as it takes place in St. Louis, was co-scripted and directed by Michele Civetta, which is his sophomore feature following a 2020 thriller called Agony starring Asia Argento, and here Civetta does try a few things utilizing a handheld camera and a few long shots, but can’t say there was anything that really stood out, and if not for a well rounded cast, this might’ve been a tough movie to sit through.



This release comes with a glossy, title-embossed, slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. Only features are Living Legends: The Cast of The Gateway (4:14) featurette and the film’s Trailer (2:20).


VIDEO – 4/5

The Gateway comes to Blu-ray presented with a 2.00 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. For the most part the picture looks fine, detail is moderately sharp though not especially, while colors are a bit tamped down with the more gritty setting and story, but there are some soft vibrancy here and there and black levels are well balanced.

AUDIO – 4¼/5

The included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track showcases clear dialogue levels mainly from the center channel, and there is some decent depth when it comes to some of the action (like gunfire during the finale) or the nice 70s- like era soundtrack along with the average drama-thriller score.


OVERALL – 2¾/5

The Gateway is only worth checking out if only for some solid performances, however the story is relatively thin and clocking in around 87 minutes doesn’t allow these characters to be developed, don’t know if it was due to budget, covid or both, but the screenplay is the weak point.




Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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