THE INEVITABLE DEFEAT of MISTER & PETE ("IDMP") is not quite as fully realized a story as 2009's PRECIOUS, but it has much the same atmosphere and, of course, shares the gritty down-and-out NYC setting. In other respects, it's a VERY different sort of film. Often stark, frequently amusing,IDMP goes in many unexpected directions.
Partly by necessity, it's rather slow-moving with regular bits of heavy suspense here and there. 60-70% (perhaps a bit too much) of it is confined to the abandoned apartment where the two young boys hide after Mister's mother is arrested. Though far from boring, with a number of turnabouts, IDMP may not completely satisfy those who are expecting more of an urban odyssey.
Skylan Brooks (14-year-old Mister) and Ethan Dizon (Pete, about six years younger) are naturals in their roles, and Brooks does a particularly outstanding job of acting-within-acting. Anthony Mackie also gives a laudable performance as Kris the pimp/drug dealer. Nevertheless, the characters of Mister and Pete are unconvincing in certain respects. Mister sometimes seems a bit TOO noble and crafty for a boy from his background who's failing eighth grade and usually just screams "Fuck you!" and runs off when he gets frustrated. Having said that, I think the point is that having Pete, who's been even more neglected than Mister himself, as a surrogate little brother and ally against the oppressive adult world brings out the very best in Mister, who also discovers the useful and liberating qualities of acting and role-playing in life's struggles. Pete also seems a bit too polite and well-spoken considering his age and background, but again, something would be lost if he were otherwise. One way or another, IDMP is a rich multi-character study of different people in squalid circumstances. It also shows the ethnically diverse atmosphere of Brooklyn without falling to the stereotypes we often encounter in this type of setting.
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