Asphalt City (2024) : Raw Realities of New York City’s Emergency Services


The movie follow Ollie Cross in his new life as a paramedic, he decided to do this job because is going to help him in paying his studies, he want to be a doctor and to gained experience. Cross is presenting with Gene Rutkovsky that man that is going to be his partner in the night shift, Rutkovsky better know as Rut is a veteran paramedic that has seen everything and nothing can surprise him anymore for that reason Rut decided to say to Cross “Beware of black flies, they the first to smell death”, Cross didn’t quite understand what was Rut trying to say to him but life is going to show him that lesson. The first call of the night was received and the team of paramedics prepared to attend the call, a moments late they arrived in a abandoned apartment where unfortunately they couldn’t do much because the person was already dead, they then start the process of removed the movie and take it to the morgue in the ambulance Rut asked to Cross if that was the first time that he ever watched someone he knew actually die and Cross replies yes, his own mother that committed suicide when he was a child. The story will continue showing the colleagues in his job every night trying to do the best they can in situation such as the abused and beaten wives, the drug addicted, the ignored immigrants and the though gang members that sometimes make they job more difficult. Cross is living all this during the night but during the day he is struggle to commit with his studies and the exams that he has to present. Every night for Cross is apparently a challenge but Rut is there to guide the newbie in hardly job, something things can escalated and touch deeply in Cross like a badly beaten wife that is still threatened by her husband even thought the paramedics try to take her to the hospital or an scene were apparently a pregnant heroin user gave birth but the baby born dead, this case of scenarios continue every night making Cross realized the New York is not what is seems in the surface in the darker halls exist a different world, a world full of cruelty, suffering, people trying to survive and two paramedics trying to save the most people the can. Also the movie will show a little of the personal life of each character Cross with his girlfriend and Rut struggling with the decision of his ex wife of moving to another city with his daughter.

Asphalt City is an intense movie that is going to show scenarios one after another of chaos, lost, pain and cruelty of society, director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire want to show a different perspective of a big city that is glorify for many but is a hell for others and a perspective from a paramedic that work in the night shift is the way that he decided to show the audience that New York is not perfect and that reality could be cruel. Asphalt City premiered on March 29th in theaters.

– Platform: Theaters
– Release: March 29, 2024


Critics: Too much exaggerated

The movie Asphalt City was premiered in the Cannes Film Festival in 2023 with the name of Black Flies for the adaptation of Shannon Burke’s 2008 novel Black Flies. Critics have acclaimed the performance of Sean Penn and Tye Sheridan, giving emotion and reality to their characters but critics has also dislike for the cruelty and the exaggeration of the job that a real paramedic has to do mention that in the movie they seems to be more like two cops in every crime scene, despite all that the director vision is accepted and the movie is side of a city that also needs to be known.


Director’s Vision: Reality at the big screen

Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire is a French filmmaker, producer and screenwriter that is best known for the films Johnny Mad Dog 2008, A Prayer Before Dawn 2017 and now Asphalt City 2024. The career of the director started in 1991 as a first assistant director of the film Les Nuits Fauves By Cyril Collard and continue doing that job until 2000, after gained experience he decided to give a step on his directorial career and directed three short films La Mule, A Dios and Matalo later in 2008 he made the movie Johnny Mad Dog which one that was presented in the Cannes Film Festival winning the Prix de L’Espoir. Sauvaire is a director that is not afraid to show the dark side of society and dig into the characters psyche until they reveal their deepest fears and desires.


A veteran and a rookie: Showing the Cast of Asphalt City

The cast of Asphalt city is lead by Sean Penn as Gene Rutkovsky, Penn is an American actor and director, as an actor he won an Academy Award for his roles in the movie Mystic River 2003 and in Milk 2008, Penn has a long filmography that reflect his expertise and great work. Tye Sheridan plays Ollie Cross, Sheridan is an American actor that made his debut in the film The Tree of Life 2001, in 2016 he take the role of Scotter Summer known as Cyclope in X-Mex Apocalypse and In Ready Player One of 2018 he performed Wade Owen. Gbenga Akinnagbe is an American actor and writer, Akinnagbe is known for his role in the series The Wire of 2002 as Chris Partlow and in the series The Deuce of 2017 as Larry Brown. Katherine Waterston as Nancy, Waterson is an British actress that made her debut in the movie Michael Clayton 2007 but she is known for her performance in the movie Inherent Vice 2014, she also portrayed Chrisann Brennan in the movie Steve Jobs 2015 and take the role of Tina Goldstein in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2016. Mike Tyson is in the role of Chief Burroughs, Tyson is a former boxer that make his appearance in this movie.


Production Challenges

The movie Asphalt City at the beginning was titled with the name Black Flies that was because it is an adaptation of Shannon Burke’s Novel with the same name Black Flies, due to it is an adaptation director was more careful in the process of scripting and directing to capture the essence of the original story, despite that the filming process was pleasant with a cast that gave everything to deliver great performances. Asphalt City is a movie that is going to give to the audience many emotions thanks to the great performances and the view of director Jean Stéphane Sauvaire about a dark New York City.

Based on Shannon Burke’s 2008 novel Black Flies, Asphalt City wants to reflect in this movie the vision of a director who has live for many years in the great city of New York, with the story of two paramedics, one as the rookie and the second a veteran that nothing impress him anymore, is a plot of a dark city full of crime, drugs, abuse, gangs members that is reflecting a different and also a real perspective of a city that is glorify by many but as is also a hell for others, at the same is the place were the devil walk between everyone and we don’t if this destiny but Ollie Cross is the person chose in this life that is going to feel all the pain and frustration of every call he received and must attend all this to confirm if he is strong enough to pass through all those challenges and can pass with success all the test that life is going to force him to face.

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