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Ray Donovan: The Movie gives the canceled Showtime fixer series well-deserved closure

  • "Ever since we were introduced to the morose, haunted, well-dressed and animalistic Hollywood 'fixer' Ray Donovan in 2013, Ray has been using his guile, fists, gun and a baseball bat to clean up one unholy mess after another," Richard Roeper says in reviewing the movie that star Liev Schreiber co-wrote with creator Ann Biderman and showrunner David Hollander. "He moved forward with the ruthless efficiency of a dead-eyed shark, but instead of a steady diet of food, Ray seemed to subsist only on Johnnie Walker Black, the occasional beer, coffee — and more Johnnie Walker Black. He always looked great in his black luxury sedan and his black sports coat, but more often than not, there was blood on his white button-down shirt. Schreiber was given arguably the best role of his career and he grabbed it with gusto and made it all his own. It was probably the right time to say goodbye to Ray Donovan, as the series had begun spinning its wheels in recent seasons, after the action moved from California to the East Coast, but with this movie, Ray gets the send-off he deserves."


    • Ray Donovan: The Movie never feels like cheap fan service: The follow-up TV movie "hints at what an entire eighth season could have been and provides just enough closure while avoiding easy conclusions for most of its characters," says Brian Tallerico. "It’s visually ambitious in ways the show was increasingly allowed to be in later seasons, evincing a true cinematic language in terms of craft. But what will really matter to fans is the show has been allowed to end on its own terms. It’s the final job Ray deserves. While Ray Donovan: The Movie smartly focuses on the Mickey-and-Ray dynamic, the writers make time for a few other favorite characters, giving most of the key players story lines that are more ellipses than periods. It would have felt wrong for a show that was often willing to deal in gray areas to neatly tie up the lives of every character on Ray Donovan as weak series finales tend to do; perhaps some of the supporting players would have had more finality in an entire season, but Hollander and Schreiber give the Donovan family just enough narrative to make for a satisfying conclusion."
    • Ray Donovan: The Movie amounts to an extra-long final episode: "Television shows sign off for all kinds of reasons, and historically it's not uncommon for programmers to leave viewers dangling," says Brian Lowry. "Having invested seven years in Ray's odyssey, asking for a genuine ending wasn't unreasonable. If nothing else, Ray Donovan: The Movie creates the space for the producers to go out on their terms, in much the way Showtime did with Dexter, more effectively, in a limited-series format. Ray frequently used a baseball bat to solve problems. Although it's nice to see the show's creative team afforded one final swing, it's too bad they don't knock it out of the park."
    • Liev Schreiber is glad to give Ray Donovan closure after being "hurt and confused" over Showtime's abrupt cancelation: He admits to TVLine that after the cancelation, “there was a part of me that wanted to just walk away with my tail between my legs and just be done with it.” A larger part of Schreiber, however, wanted the series “to have a nice bookend if, God forbid, my kids ever want to watch this someday. Now it’s a complete box set.” As for whether Ray Donovan can return for more movies, as Showtime CEO David Nevins has previously hinted, Schreiber says: “This is the end for me. For now.”

    TOPICS: Ray Donovan, Showtime, Liev Schreiber