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The Tenants (2005)

R | | Crime, Drama, Romance | April 2005 (USA)
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In an abandoned tenement, an African-American militant writer and a Jewish novelist develop a friendship while struggling to complete their novels, but inner tension rises between the two.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Harry Lesser
...
Willie Spearmint
...
Irene Bell
...
Levenspiel
...
Mary Kettlesmith
...
Gene Gilbert ...
Mr. Ross
Linda Lawson ...
Anna
...
Young Cop
...
Jacob 32
...
Stage Actor
...
Female Partygoer
Lamont Bentley ...
Male Partygoer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Carla Glover ...
Party Goer
...
Featured Male Partygoer
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Storyline

On the top floor of an abandoned tenement, Harry Lesser struggles to complete the novel he has been writing for almost ten years. Then Willie Spearmint, black militant and aspiring writer, moves into another part of the building to work on his own book. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some violence, sexual content and drug use | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

April 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die letzten Mieter  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$2,010 (USA) (3 February 2006)

Gross:

$2,010 (USA) (3 February 2006)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Quartettsatz in C Minor
Composed by Franz Schubert
Performed by Quartetto Amati
Conducted by J.C. Rybin
Under License from Chacra Alternative Music, Inc.
Courtesy of 5 Alarm Music
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User Reviews

 
A Microscopic Examination of Urban Life and the Writer's Mind
8 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

THE TENANTS began as a 1971 short novel by the now deceased Bernard Malamud - writer/philosopher - examining the conflicts between Jews and African Americans in the incendiary atmosphere of Brooklyn at the time the book was written. As a novel the story was gut wrenchingly real: as transcribed into a screenplay by novices David Diamond and Danny Green (who also directs) it is more of a cerebral dissertation that gradually erupts into action in the final moments.

Harry Lesser (Dylan McDermott) is a Jewish novelist with one book under his belt but currently attempting to finish his 'newest' book ten years into the writing. Convinced that he must complete the novel in the same environment where it was started. he is the sole tenant in a condemned Brooklyn tenement owned by Levinspiel (Seymour Cassel) who constantly tries to 'buy out' Harry's lease so that the filthy dilapidated building can be demolished. Into this atmosphere enters another Black militant quasi-anti-Semitic writer Willie Spearmint (Snoop Dogg) whom Harry befriends, hides, and offers help to the nascent novelist's attempt to write about the death of all white people. Harry's attempts to help Willie lead to conflict, not the least of which is Harry's meeting Willie's girlfriend, the white Jewish Irene Bell (Rose Byrne) at a less than friendly gathering of Willie's militant black brothers and sisters. Willie and Irene are on the skids and Harry gradually falls in love with Irene and they plan to leave New York as soon as Harry finishes his novel. When Willie hears of the assignation and is further critiqued by Harry, Willie explodes and begins the downward descent of not only a delicate friendship but also a competition between writers. The ending 'reveals the slippery nature of the human condition, and the human capacity for violence and undoing'.

The actors do their best with a script that is a bit awkward but despite scripted lines that border on preaching they create believable characters. The cinematography enhances the story, keeping the mood dank and dense and primarily confined to the condemned building. The musical score appropriately makes use of the solo jazz trumpet and blues piano to underline the tension and isolation of each of these groundless characters. Though it takes some patience to make it through the cerebral ramblings, the film in the end is worth watching. At least it attempts to recreate Malamud's bizarre look at life in the big city. Grady Harp


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