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I just watched the movie (05-21-06), and never heard of it before. I even live in Lake Worth, Fl where it was filmed. It was really strange cause after awhile I was unsure of what was going on in the movie since there were so many people doing drugs and hallucinating. I didn't know what was what, but what I did enjoy was trying to figure out where certain scenes were being filmed at. Thats basically what kept me watching the movie till the end. A few scenes were made right at Bryant Park and the outskirts of the park where the fisherman unload their boats. They even sat at he Gulfstream hotel at one point which is across the street from Bryant Park. The funniest part of the movie was where the one young kid stole a car out of the 7-11/laundry mat parking lot and it shows him driving and driving and when he finally crashes it is actually on the same exact block of where the car was stolen from, just one building over. That just made me laugh.
Many people hate movies that skip over the happy endings, or fail to
feature any likable characters, but I'm not like that, at all. If you
are, you probably won't like this movie.
Most of the characters are unscrupulous, and in some cases, downright despicable. I love that in a movie. Hehe.
It kept my attention all the way through with lots of action, and the final shootout was awesome.
I love Lili Taylor in anything, and she's great here. Also worth noting are the performances of a couple of highly underrated actors....Paul Schulze and Adam Trese. Watching Tony Danza play a gay crimelord is a hoot.
Sure, it's downbeat, gritty, and dreary, but isn't that what gangsters and drug trafficking is all about? Love it!
... with this pretentious, "confusing as hell" movie. Some bad movies are worth watching just to see how bad there are... this is NOT one of those movies....
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a bad movie. Very, very bad. Pretentious. Confused. Laugh out loud unrealistic. And violent. Stupidly, lovingly violent. Plus it has Tony Danza. One small example: there's a shootout at the end between the two main characters. The "good" guy drug dealer shoots his handgun 23 times without reloading. 23. If you watch closely you'll see his slide lock back at least twice in the quick back and forth cuts between the shooters but he clearly never reloads. And the people who are shot?!!?? They lie dead on the ground, in public places, and in one case for seemingly more than a day, and no one does anything or even notices. They must live in Vice City...
I just watched Illtown on video, 6 years after it came out. Better late than never! I loved Laws of Gravity and wondered what happened to Nick Gomez. I knew he was directing some TV stuff (Oz, the Sopranos) and unfortunately didn't get around to seeing Illtown when it was in the theatres. Nick Gomez's directing style is so unique and powerful, and his sense of color and detail is incredible. Illtown reminded me alot of Soderberg's "The Limey", in its sophisticated sense of space and geography. Gomez's use of the Florida landscape and architecture is just as expressive as the incredible cast of characters he assembled, just as his location of Williamsburg, Brooklyn did in Laws of Gravity. I loved this film, and I encourage anyone who has any taste to see it.
This story of murder and betrayal among drug dealers gets suitably
gritty treatment from the writer and director, but unfortunately the
whole thing seems out of focus, like one long drug-induced haze.
Michael Rappaport plays Dante, a dealer who delivers his illegal wares
to the disco crowd of south Florida via the high-school-aged punks who
work the streets for him. Dante's life starts to spin out of control
when said punks betray him to strike out on their own, leading to the
murder of one of them and ending with Dante having to fight for his
life when a rival sends his own gang of vicious kids after him. There
are some good shootouts, warm interplay between Dante, his wife and
Dante's right-hand man and many dream sequences, as Rappaport and
Company recall happier days, which are increasingly in stark contrast
to the reality around them.
What throws the movie off its narrative track are the extended slo-mo's, too many of the afore-mentioned dream sequences, the total lack of any human beings in sight except drug dealers and the baffling scenes where Tony Danza, as Dante's drug overlord, talks a little like an Eastern guru giving life lessons in metaphors. Wouldn't such a man - whose power would be backed by fear and violence - be screaming "Where is my f___ing money? and I'll kill you!" when one of one of his dealers (Dante) suddenly stops bringing in the money? What's frustrating about this film is the fact that when it works (gritty environs, vivid shootouts, nice supporting performances by Lili Taylor, Adam Trese and Kevin Corrigan) it's good, but when it's over you don't know what happened to Dante (the movie ends on one of its many dream sequences) and you feel like you've nodded off for an hour and a half and dreamed something about drug dealers in south Florida, but you can't remember what.
Nick Gomez' "Illtown" is a brilliant film that seems like a genre picture on the surface, but it transcends almost every aspect of the "drug-crime picture" by eliminating typical plots and conventions. The pace is slow, dark, surreal, and incredibly original. Very few people have ever even heard of this movie. Those who have seen it don't like it since it has the courage to be different and focus on the characters instead of action and shoot-outs. It's time for the DVD to be released.
This film is very poorly directed and edited. I got the impression that the editor took all the pieces of the film and put them in a hat and then spliced them together in a random order. Flashbacks merge into present-tense without any rhyme or reason. Momentary images of characters pop up without justification. I watched this because I love the work of Lili Taylor who is forgettable but not offensive in this; not so for Michael Rappaport who appears to be using some of the drugs that he sells in the movie. There's an amazing last shot in the film where Rappaport is supposed to have hit a golf ball on a golf course. His gaze goes up and out to show that he's hit the ball `hundreds of yards' but it is obvious, even without freeze-framing, that the ball actually dribbles about 20 feet in front of him. The reason that I hated this movie so much is that it COULD have been good with it's fine cast and interesting script - I'll never watch a Gomez film again.
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