Leo is released from prison after serving time for car theft. His plan to go straight falls apart when he meets his corrupt uncle for a job and later an old friend working there. It culminates at the (railroad) yards.
1921. An innocent immigrant woman is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island.
This film tells a bitter tale of a dysfunctional family. Joshua, a cold-blooded professional killer, returns to his Brighton Beach boyhood home for a "job." He knows it will be difficult to return to the Russian-immigrant community of his youth--in his eyes, we see anticipation of the inevitable emotional pain and psychic turmoil that seeing his forsaken family and estranged companions will bring him. To do his job, and try to maintain some semblence of sanity, he has had to wall off his humanity from even himself. Seeing his kid brother, who adores him, talking with his dying mother, who still loves him, and yes, arguing with his abusive father, begins to wreak havoc with his personal defenses. As his steely demeanor begins to dissolve, we are shown the soul of a hit-man crumbling away, piece by piece. Finally, all that he now allows himself to admit that he loves is agonizingly torn away from him and he is left with the ultimate punishment for his transgressions.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
This film contains just 454 shots in about 92 minutes of action (i.e. excluding the credits). This equates to an average shot length of about 12 seconds. This is very long compared to the 3 - 6 second standard of most Hollywood films made in the 1990s. See more »
The boom mic is visible in many scenes. See more »
A stunning debut by this young writer-director -- Dostoyevskian themes, an exact sense of place, and a lyricism touched by few of his peers. And now six years' wait!
While most U.S. indie filmmakers spent the 1990s studiously copying Tarantino, Gray in this overlooked gem created something entirely different: a character study of tragedy among the unhip and uncool. Torn by illness and the return of a prodigal son, a Russian immigrant family in New York tries to outlast the omens promising its destruction. The film owes something to Coppola, but you might feel the presence of Bergman, too. Unsentimental, unsparing, with brilliant performances by the principal cast. A must see.
17 of 23 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this