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Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio,
This movie is a stark portrayal of life among a group of heroin addicts who hang out in "Needle Park" in New York City. Played against this setting is a low-key love story between Bobby, a young addict and small-time hustler, and Helen, a homeless girl who finds in her relationship with Bobby the stability she craves. She becomes addicted too, and life goes downhill for them both as their addiction deepens, eventually leading to a series of betrayals. But, in spite of it all, the relationship between Bobby and Helen endures. Written by
E. Schofield <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director Jerry Schatzberg's style looks remarkably like Ingmar Bergman's in works like "Scenes From a Marriage." Using no music background only real life sounds, abrupt scene cutting and cross-cutting, highly realistic style, and copious closeups, the Bergman influence is apparent.
Schatzberg fashioned a piece that has a timeless look and feel. While Verdi Square (Needle Park) may not be quite as rich with denizens today and that W. 72nd subway exit not as peopled with thick crowds, it's still bustling mid-Manhattan--like no other place on earth.
And no better actor to play the street savvy slicker than Al Pacino in only his second film appearance. He, Kitty Winn and a host of sharp protogees from the Strasberg seminars breathe life into the scenario.
It remains one of Mr. Pacino's best efforts, and a film that paved the way for a new realism in gritty subject material.
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