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Jimmy the Saint's business is videotaping the terminally-ill, so that they will be around to give 'Afterlife Advice' to their survivors. He hasn't been doing too well lately and has had to turn to loan-sharks to accomodate his failing business, as well as his expensive personal tastes. When an evil gangster-overlord buys up his note and demands a favor of Jimmy, in exchange for the interest that he can't afford, Jimmy capitulates. Jimmy is to scare someone for the gangster-overlord--really rough them up. Without giving too much away (spoiler), the scene goes down badly and Jimmy and his crew all end up with contracts on their heads for their trouble. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
I feel that a hell of a lot of ppl missed the point on this one; it is less a Tarantino-esque hip, Godfather mob drama, than a meditation on life and death, and the frustration of mortality.
Centered around Garcia's character Jimmy, the film follows him tying up his loose ends, after his gang botch up an 'action', and are given a 48hr suspended death sentence by bitter crimelord Walken, before the deadly assassin Mr Shh (Buscemi) is called in. Feeling responsible, and desperate to tie up as many loose ends in his life, the film finds Jimmy constantly striving to choose between options, and to try and finish nobly, and rectify his perceived wrongs. These include trying to secure his fellow gang members (Lloyd, Nunn, Forsythe and the crazed Williams), ensure the wellbeing of prostitute Balk, and ignore his love for Anwar, to avoid dragging her in with him. Throughout it all, Jimmy only succeeds in isolating himself further, fighting his fears and dreams with his logic and pride. Yet as Warden narrates, there is a sense that Jimmy's peace is just around the corner, if only he can do the right things.
Garcia truly tranmits his character's pain and suffering, most pertinently through the changing look on his eyes and face as the deadline nears - he tries to maintain his grace, but cant quite hide his fears. All the support are great - Walken and Buscemi as per usual are suitably fearful, Williams and Lloyd in particular represent lost souls going down defiantly very well, whilst the underused women are perfect - Anwar doing well with unhelpful scenes, and Balk truly outstanding as the prostitute with the zeal and realism that Jimmy so badly needs. The dialogue is at times cheesy and clunky, and the mob feel somewhat overdone, but the film feels true, and makes a valuable point about targets, and the temporality of life. And it refuses to lose hope, as proved by the final boat scene.
Similar to Spike Lee's new film, the issues of mortality, and aspirations and dreams are key. The film's sombre tone is perfect - not too downbeat (there are many hilarious and happy moments), but enough to make us understand the importance of the issues at stake. Aside from staunch, happy-to-be-cynical other imdb reviewers, the film will affect, and perhaps even instruct. Recommended.
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