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Hoodlum & Son (2003)

 -  Comedy | Crime  -  7 November 2006 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 95 users  
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It's 1933, and mishievous 10-year-old Archie finds himself in the care of his father, Charlie, a reluctant gangster indebted to mob boss Benny "The Bomb" Palladino. They flee with a ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ellen Heaven
...
Charlie Ellroy
...
'Ugly' Jim McCrae
...
Benny 'The Bomb' Palladino
...
Archie Ellroy
Emily McArthur ...
Alabama Lubitsch
Michael Richard ...
Sheriff Duggan
Russel Savadier ...
'Four Eyes' Morton
Ian Roberts ...
Earl
Karin van der Laag ...
Big 'Juicy' Lucy
Anthony Bishop ...
Gillis Johnson
Anthony Fridjhon ...
Police Chief
Charlotte Savage ...
Virginia Heaven
Thomas Savage ...
Little Jim
Cassidy Pepper ...
Becky
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Storyline

It's 1933, and mishievous 10-year-old Archie finds himself in the care of his father, Charlie, a reluctant gangster indebted to mob boss Benny "The Bomb" Palladino. They flee with a suitcase of stolen money to a dustbowl town where they plan to steal the illegal fortune of "Ugly" Jim McCrae. But Charlie meets the beautiful widow Ellen Heaven, and he soon changes his priorities. Unfortunately, the Mob has made other plans... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Missing money...mobs...and mayhem

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some innuendo | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

7 November 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hoodlum és fia  »

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Benny "The Bomb": What, are you nuts? Benny Palladino don't surrender to nobody, especially not that apple-polishing putz.
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Connections

References Rio Bravo (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Full of Hoodlum and Fun!
13 June 2006 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

An independent British production shot in South Africa with a lot of American acting talent, here's a classic kid-friendly family comedy. The storyline involves the shenanigans of rival gangs set in 1933 – toward the end of American's prohibition era. The plot is easy to follow thanks to a clear script, so youngsters won't be puzzling at who is gunning for whom, but can simply enjoy the colourful characters and fast action.

Despite some rather predictable plot points, the script (by Ashley Way, who also directed) is smoothly written, almost text-book perfect, with some really great dialogue. The only weakness for me was the ending. It works, (just) but I found it rather underdeveloped and abrupt: maybe the budget ran out. But it's the love interest that holds the film together, as Charlie (Ted King- a bit of a Mel Gibson look-alike) and small town girl Ellen (Mia Sara) avoid hitting it off most of the time. Will they, or won't they? Watch the film to find out, but if its voyeuristic bedroom scenes and breathless nights of passion you're after, be ready for a disappointment. It's refreshing to find a film that, while not disallowing sexual chemistry, keeps it from spilling over to a "mandatory" bedroom (read: box-office) scene. Despite the gangland-style shootouts, this really is as described on the box: "A Comedy for all the family." The photography (by South African cinematographer, "Buster" Reynolds) and production design (Burrie Van Zyl) both work seamlessly: effortlessly recreating an authentic 1930s "feel" to the film. In any movie, the designer and cinematographer play key roles in the final 'look' of the picture, but of course the best shot film in the world will fall sadly flat if the acting and direction fall short. Here we have some wonderful child performances: South African Charlotte Savage turns in a masterfully under-played, delightful performance as Virginia, who is just a little bit sweet on Archie, played by Hollywood's Myles Jeffrey who, amazingly, already had more than twenty screen credits to his name when he appeared in this role.

A word about plot: Arguably, there are just ten major dramatic themes that any film can be classified by – for instance, the 'quest' picture (which is where we could pigeon hole "The Da Vinci Code"). Another re-occurring theme is that of 'redemption', where the quest is revealed more from the inside of the character outward; often transformational. The "Shawshank Redemption" (definitely not for child viewing, by the way) is an outstanding example of this theme. When we discuss redemption in the movies, we are not taking about some dusty religiosity. It is about this journey of inner transformation. Much of the dramatic tension of such films comes from the inner conflict that the central character goes through in coming to terms with him or herself. But this movie has lots of fun action and snappy dialogue, too.

While the film can be viewed as pure escapist entertainment, there are also numerous mini-lessons to be learnt – and not just in the delightful school-room sequence, either – which incidentally, works as well as any part of the film, and was a definite highlight for me personally: just listen to the dialogue and enjoy the wonderful child performances! The film has a certain feel to it that tells me that this was somehow a cherished project for producers Paul and Elizabeth Matthews (Imdb have Elizabeth uncredited). It was a first time outing for Ashley Way in the director's chair, and it would be interesting to know how this UK movie got to be shot in South Africa. Whatever the story behind just how it made it to the big screen, it should be sufficient for most audiences simply to know that this is a cleanly entertaining film. There's no gratuitous violence; no blood and gore, and (amazingly!) no swearing. Somehow, most the time at least, most of the characters seem to emerge from the numerous shoot-outs still alive and breathing! In all, an eminently watchable film, one that I am glad to recommend without reservation.


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