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2015 | 2014 | 2012

1 item from 2015

Film Review: ‘Straight Outta Tompkins’

9 March 2015 3:56 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The personal doesn’t feel especially persuasive in “Straight Outta Tompkins,” 22-year-old writer-director-star Zephyr Benson’s semi-autobiographical drama about the relentless downward spiral of a teenage junkie/dealer adrift on the Lower East Side. Imagining what might have happened if his own youthful experiences using and selling drugs had taken a much darker, more extreme turn, Benson displays more energy and assurance behind the camera than he does in front of it; even still, his tonal command of his own narrative is wobbly at best, employing cynical humor and climactic eruptions of violence to jazz up what is ultimately an overly earnest and predictable cautionary tale. Although not without promise, the film (which opened March 6 in limited release) likely proved more cathartic for its maker than it will be for those who seek it out.

A scene in which young Gene (Benson) tries to fill out a life-goals questionnaire provides »

- Justin Chang

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2015 | 2014 | 2012

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