"21 Bridges" is a thriller wedged in a gripping concept. While the destination seems too obvious to ever happen, this ride-through is quite gripping. Director Jodorowsky's "Dune" (1977) is often cited as a movie that inspired his film "Gas Lamp" (2020), but it isn't until "21 Bridges" that a director really gets a chance to play with the audience and put them into a heightened state of awareness. The film also is a great example of what can happen when a story's story beats become too familiar.
To give a little background to the movie's plot, Tom Hanks plays the title character, a young man (though he looks ten years older) who's a member of an elite street gang. In the opening scene, a bomb goes off at a local party, injuring Tom (as well as injuring several others).
One day, Tom goes into the bank where his gang works, only to find out that he isn't allowed to work there. The bank, though, tells him to go back home. The next morning, he meets up with his friends in an alley in an attempt to steal some money, only to find out that his friends have been framed for stealing.
When Tom goes to the police, they tell him to wait, but instead, Tom decides to go to a local bar and wait for a while. One of the other men in his group decides to follow Tom into the bar, thinking that he has some information about the crime they are accused of. The two men enter the bar, though, and are attacked by one another. With the help of a couple of other people, Tom manages to get away from the scene without being caught.
After leaving the bar, Tom heads to a friend's house, where he tells his friend about the incident. One night later, he goes into the park and finds a bunch of drugs in the bushes, and decides to get rid of them by throwing a party. Unfortunately, he doesn't have any clean clothes or a valid ID.
One day, Tom gets out of bed, only to find out that he has a message on his cell phone. He goes to check it, but finds out that it's a message from an unknown number that says, "You're being watched by a very strange individual." He heads out to the car, only to see the same guy standing in front of the car he just got out of.