This film tells a bitter tale of a dysfunctional family. Joshua, a cold-blooded professional killer, returns to his Brighton Beach boyhood home for a "job." He knows it will be difficult to... See full summary »
This film tells a bitter tale of a dysfunctional family. Joshua, a cold-blooded professional killer, returns to his Brighton Beach boyhood home for a "job." He knows it will be difficult to return to the Russian-immigrant community of his youth--in his eyes, we see anticipation of the inevitable emotional pain and psychic turmoil that seeing his forsaken family and estranged companions will bring him. To do his job, and try to maintain some semblence of sanity, he has had to wall off his humanity from even himself. Seeing his kid brother, who adores him, talking with his dying mother, who still loves him, and yes, arguing with his abusive father, begins to wreak havoc with his personal defenses. As his steely demeanor begins to dissolve, we are shown the soul of a hit-man crumbling away, piece by piece. Finally, all that he now allows himself to admit that he loves is agonizingly torn away from him and he is left with the ultimate punishment for his transgressions. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
When I saw this film I was a bit bored - after all, the chief protagonist is supposed to be a hit-man, a dramatic role if ever there was one. At the same time I found myself pinned to the screen, watching an extraordinary roll-call of performance from three generations of first-class screen actors. It is a great shame that the plot is so makeshift, so flaky.
Roth plays a prodigal hit-man, Joshua, who returns to the town of the title for a contract against his instinct. None of the characters, largely all suffering old, unresolved antagonisms, can help themselves but be drawn to one another on his return, combustibly, tearfully but inevitably. Edward Furlong, a truly exceptional actor in every film in which I've seen him is heartbreaking here. Roth is an empty, jittery presence and the stymied reconciliation with his mother is desperate; Vanessa Redgrave is too much actually, but perhaps it's appropriate given that she is dying. It's too miserable in the end. 5/10
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