5 things to know about Liev Schreiber’s ‘Ray Donovan’ movie

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Dan Buffa, Special to the Jewish Light

“You can’t outrun your legacy.”

After seven seasons spent fixing other people’s problems, “Ray Donovan” will finally have to try and fix himself or die trying.

The Showtime series has featured Liev Schreiber’s Boston-born bruiser taking care of business for crooked politicians, actors, and mafia members. However, he’s never treating his own wounds. The trash collector who makes a problematic hotel room scene with an unexpected death goes away. The guy who shows up at your doorstep asking you to stop doing something that is damaging to his client. When in doubt, call Ray.

But on Jan. 14, when the long-awaited “Ray Donovan” movie airs, Schreiber’s tough guy will be looking inward as he tries to settle his affairs. Just don’t expect it to be an easy fix. The preview released earlier this month kicks off with Ray calling his shrink (Alan Alda) and telling him that he just did something bad.

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“(It) runs downhill. Father to son, father to daughter.”

The nuts and bones of what makes David Hollander’s show work is the everlasting guilt that Schreiber’s anti-hero feels. No matter what he does, things usually go bad for those around him, including his daughter (Kerry Dorsey) and brothers (Eddie Marsan, Dash Mihok, Pooch Hall). Raised and abandoned by a criminal father (Jon Voight in one of his best roles) while being abused by a priest at a young age, Ray is damaged goods without a map to redemption.

“There’s a reason he is the way he is”

The thorn in Ray’s side has always been his father, Mickey. From the minute he walked back into Ray’s life back in Season 1, the series arc was set. Schreiber and Voight’s acting on the show elevates the usual father-son television show dynamic. Ray’s problems are forever linked to his father’s choices, actions that shaped his son’s childhood. But a line from Hall’s Daryll in the movie trailer traces the links in the Donovan crime chain all the way back to Mickey’s own childhood.

Ray’s biggest nightmare has always been turning out exactly like his father. It seems that in order for Ray to find solace or peace, he has to fix things with his father first. Everything on the show runs through them.

Key Art for RAY DONOVAN: THE MOVIE. Photo Credit: SHOWTIME. (SHOWTIME)

Ray’s relationship with his daughter is still rocky

From the moment audiences met Dorsey’s Bridget eight years ago, it wasn’t hard to notice her perception isn’t broken. She’s known what daddy does for a living for quite some time, even taking part in a few cover-ups and cleanups. But the events of the last season left things fractured between Ray and Bridget, leaving the father-daughter in a tricky place as the movie opens. Just listen to her in the trailer.

“He taught you how to forget,” Bridget tells Ray. “What, sweetheart,” Ray asks. “A life,” she replies.

Brotherly love… or brotherly harm?

The relationship between Ray and his brothers has always been one of the warmer and also more volatile elements of the show. Marsan’s elder brother Terry, battling Parkinson’s disease and trying to keep his love for boxing alive, helps Ray in his deadly dealings. Mihok’s Bunchy, abused just as badly as Ray by the church as a kid, also partakes in the criminal endeavors. Daryll has tried to distance himself from Ray by aligning with Mickey, but that’s led him down his own dark path.

In the movie, they are forced to come together one last time to set things right. One scene from the preview shows them dancing and drinking, a lighter moment in the show’s usually dark shade of pale. But what if they have to stop Ray from truly becoming his father?

Is the movie a true finale or could there be more “Ray?”

For my money, this is it. It took a ton of fan noise and support to get Showtime to rethink its cancellation of the series, one that didn’t receive a proper end. The movie allows that closure, so expecting more may be futile. But never say never, especially if Schreiber’s fixer doesn’t find the peace he seeks in the preview.

Will he end up in jail? Will Ray die? All answers come on Jan. 14, a date that can’t get here soon enough.

Ray’s final words in the trailer reveal a more violent end for one of television’s most revered anti-heroes: “I let the wolf in.”