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Here we have early film appearances from a number of guys who went on to varying degrees of stardom. I think this is mostly what this movie's good reputation is based on. But I didn't find it quite so compelling as a film.
This flick is about four high school boys in 1950's Brooklyn who belong to a "social-athletic club" (others would say gang) called the Lords. As is often the case in movies, they all look like they saw the end of high school some years before. The four (Perry King, Sylvester Stallone, Henry Winkler, Paul Mace) are poised on the brink of adulthood and the responsibility that it will bring. The film is shot in a manner that is almost cinema verite, with lots of hand-held cameras getting grainy-looking closeups. The dialog also is obviously meant to be realistic, but I found it often less than scintillating. I waited around for the bigger issues to be tackled and the larger truths to be revealed, but they are not exactly enlightening, either. A faux-'50's music soundtrack doesn't help much.
Despite these negative comments, I would give 'The Lords of Flatbush' a marginal "thumbs up," mostly for effort. It does do a good job of depicting the culture and local color of the place and time it represents. But this is no definitive film about either coming of age or life in Brooklyn in the 1950's.
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