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When two brothers organize the robbery of their parent's jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother's wife hurtling towards a shattering climax.
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
A street-wise, middle-aged moll named Gloria stands up against the mobs, which is complicated by a six-year-old urchin with a will of his own who she reluctantly takes under her wing after his family has been gunned down.Written by
BOB STEBBINS <email@example.com>
Failed buddy-movie; failed journey of self discovery; failed gangster flick - not the director's best effort.
It would seem there is more to Gloria than meets the eye; this is in fact a remake of a film from 1980 and one that was directed by John Cassavettes. Interesting even more, then that upon discovering this was a remake shortly after I had seen it, and genuinely disliked it myself, that I would have new ammunition to use against this picture. If a film is made in the contemporary era of post 1960, why bother to remake it unless the idea was so brilliant and the initial execution was so poor. I haven't seen the original but from my own mind and other people's writing, it seems it was good idea, executed well; so why redo it?
In 1980s Hollywood, the buddy genre it would seem enjoyed a strong series of successions. In 1999, are we still entertained by wise-cracking buddy formulas? The Rush Hour films say 'no, we are not'. But Gloria goes ahead anyway and by the time the credits have begun to run, what could have been set up, presented and told in about forty minutes has taken an hour and a half. Such is the nature of the film, Gloria (Stone) runs around the city with kid Nicky (Figueroa), for just about the entire runtime; getting into mis-adventures; scraps and situations oh, and the kid does a whole load of annoying moaning in-between. Gloria is a film that outstays its welcome pretty sharpish; the idea for the film is pair together a gangster's moll and a kid whose family was on the wrong end of the gangster's she's connected to and have them ride around the city for a day or two as we watch them; that's it.
It seems strange Gloria and Nicky would even hang around for as long as they do. Gloria has to be in Miami for a parole hearing in a couple of days but they stick around anyway despite being able to go whenever they please after Gloria cashes in some stolen jewellery. During the course of the film, Gloria and Nicky should've learnt a few harsh lessons about life; they should've been able to know a new something or two about themselves: Gloria merely picks up on the importance of friends; something she's probably never had before given her role in society and the life she had chosen. Likewise; Nicky is only seven and is thus too young to learn any serious, valuable lessons about life all he comes away with is a deceased family and a new mother figure. But that's all he needs; that's all he cares about: someone to help him along; someone to cook and clean for him; someone to tuck him in at night hence why the scenes where they share beds and talk about love are just disturbing since Gloria has adopted that motherly role.
But the harshest lessons in life occur for Gloria in the film's set up; ironically the films best part. The idea of a seven year old and a gangster's moll trying to survive the gangsters gets old after about ten minutes so everything before then is quite fun. There's a good shootout at an apartment after a Hispanic family fall foul of the gangsters and that taboo of child killings is toyed with somewhat (albeit off screen) but the scene emphasises Hollywood's inability to branch out: of course the victims are Hispanic; they couldn't be white, American, could they? Also, there are extensive readings into the 80s buddy movie and how the formula of white guy/black guy works and revolves around one another. There is Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, 48 Hrs. and the rest: here, Gloria (white) adopts the 'white' role and the seven year old is the binary opposite: non-white, male, a child, etc. But Gloria learns in the elevator coming down that she has wasted her life; she has just paid the price for being a submissive bimbo/moll the instance after she is thrown out of her own apartment by the man who 'loves' her. She has been in jail for too long and now what was once hers is now someone else's.
Initially, Gloria might have saved the child just to antagonise the guy who has taken everything from her. There is that fear of harm coming to the child but initially, I feel that is vacant. And so, what follows is a series of pranks and situations that are not interesting; not scripted well and are just rather bland. The kid moans a lot: "I'm hungry; I'm thirsty; I'm tired; I need the toilet." and that gets very repetitive was it done for laughs? I hope not. Secondly, the film's buddy partnership however quaint does not work either: bad acting, bad script and too many scenes that feel they should be heart warming but are just duds. Especially disappointing considering the 'motherly' role that is very much present. In between all this, Gloria gets the chance to dish out some bad advice for the scamp. After receiving good advice from his own father, Gloria fills up Nicky's head with things like: "Life is a dream, it only lasts a minute" and "When you grow up, you're gonna make lots of love, drink and gamble." Has that elevator ride down in the first fifteen minutes not taught her anything? How sad.
Gloria's best bit is a car chase but that is disappointing in its own right in the sense it is a complete rip-off of 1954's Seven Samurai; the Kurosawa classic. The editing and pacing of the two cars involved is like-for-like meaning Gloria's best bit is actually a copy of something else; again, how sad. By the time Gloria has made up and changed her mind in the penultimate scene and you see them walk off into the sunset (so to speak), you may have your head in your hands anti-climatic and too dull to be anything special, Gloria is one to avoid.
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