Little Odessa (1994)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  19 May 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 5,447 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 29 critic

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 »



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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alla Shustervich
Irina Shapira
Boris Volkoff
Natalya Andreychenko ...
Mina Bern ...
Grandma Tsilya
Mohammed Ghaffari ...
Dmitry Preyers ...
David Ross ...
Ron Brice ...
Man with One Leg


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Between good and evil and heaven and hell is... See more »


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong shootings, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 May 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Contract Killer  »

Box Office


$2,300,000 (estimated)


$1,095,885 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The building used for Mr Schell's mistress was 9701 Shore Road, also used in Saturday Night Fever (1977). See more »


Obviously shot out of sequence because snow can be seen in some shots and not the next. See more »


[first lines]
Joshua Shapira: It's done.
See more »


Referenced in Il giorno della prima di Close Up (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Where is James Gray now?
19 June 2000 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

A stunning debut by this young writer-director -- Dostoyevskian themes, an exact sense of place, and a lyricism touched by few of his peers. And now six years' wait!

While most U.S. indie filmmakers spent the 1990s studiously copying Tarantino, Gray in this overlooked gem created something entirely different: a character study of tragedy among the unhip and uncool. Torn by illness and the return of a prodigal son, a Russian immigrant family in New York tries to outlast the omens promising its destruction. The film owes something to Coppola, but you might feel the presence of Bergman, too. Unsentimental, unsparing, with brilliant performances by the principal cast. A must see.

11 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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