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F. Murray Abraham,
Yonkers Joe hustles, setting up schemes to cheat at cards and dice. He has a girlfriend, Janice, but does he care about her or just need a partner in his cons? He's working out a scam of casinos, gathering intelligence in Atlantic City. The fly in the ointment is his son, Joe Jr., a mentally-challenged young man about to turn 21, aging out of a group home, belligerent as the move to an adult home and his father's lack of contact upset him. Joe Jr.'s counselor insists that Joe take his son for awhile to calm him down and prepare him for the transfer. Can a mentally-challenged, unloved kid make his way with grifters? Can a father discover new emotions? What about scamming the casinos?Written by
This film is not for everyone.Maybe not for most.However if you like films that can be hard to watch and seem painfully true to the world you don't want to see but know is out there,than you MUST see this film.The underside of life meets crisis of family in a way not seen since "rainman"a film I thought was overcast and thus dulled the story by being over exposed to "star"power.Yonkers Joe only loses 1 star because the story is so hard.Released in 2008 and running only 101 minutes the secret is the casting.Inspired therefore of Chazz Palminteri and Christine Lahti as two losers who cling to the hope of a last score to continue their pathetic lives.Chaz plays Joe and he has a son who is institutionalized and has never really been there for him since his wife left them both.Joe Jr. is played well enough by Tom Guiry but he's really a burden that Joe can't shake and is now forced to confront when the institution is going to expel him as being unmanageable.It's never explained what the soon to be 21 year old's issues are other than he's mentally and socially challenged. Christine plays Janice who has very low self esteem but is a anchor for Joe. Focusing on a score against casino crap games in Vegas clash with the rediscovery of the father/son relationship between the 2 Joe's that is steadied by Janice in a fine performance by Mz Lahti who deserves recognition here.Chaz is Chaz and thats what's called for to make this a more gutty film than "Rainman"was to me.No one is better playing a low life hustler than Chaz and as a cunning low level "mechanic"he scores here.They way the film ends is so believable and yet it's not a happy "hollywood"ending,tho not a disaster ether considering the life everyone has led.If you liked"Leaving las Vegas"the ending is far more upbeat but the film is almost as depressing till then.
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