(2001)

Critic Reviews

58

Metascore

Based on 10 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
83
Portland Oregonian
Although some of the secondary roles are awkwardly acted, the leads are impressive.
80
It is enough of an act of optimism just to raise the specter of heroic nobility, something that Virgil Bliss accomplishes with subtlety and poignancy.
75
New York Daily News
Unlike most indie directors dealing with this sort of material, Maggio refuses to wallow in the romance of either misery or redemption. Instead, he hangs everything on the honesty of his lead, unknown actor Jordan -- who is so good that if there's any justice, he won't remain unknown for long.
75
A few miscalculated scenes aside, this low-budget drama is stunningly smart and powerful, with real-as-life lead performances and a style as gripping as it is unpretentious.
70
Film Threat
"We are who we are," is the mantra for this grim urban drama. That human escape velocity can be awfully hard to reach with all those bad influences hanging around.
63
Contains all the clichés of the post-prison genre -- but it has some redeeming qualities.
60
Virgil's naïveté isn't entirely believable, but his essential goodness is, thanks to a solid performance by Jordan, and that's really what makes this modern urban tragedy unusually affecting.
50
Variety
Two superb, nervy and delicately nuanced performances by newcomers Clint Jordan and Kirsten Russell enliven and momentarily elevate writer-director Joe Maggio's Virgil Bliss above the familiar post-prison-drama cliches to which it so strenuously adheres.
50
The A.V. Club
First-time director Maggio has two enormous assets in his lead actors. It's just a shame that he betrays them with a silly ending that does much to diminish their efforts.
30
Village Voice
Jordan and Kirsten Russell, as the deadbeat-hooker love interest, bring the film to intermittent life, suggesting several more dimensions than the stale, futile scenario ever allows them.

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