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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Terrible film

1/10
Author: henderson_789 from United States
7 November 2013

I agree with everything the first reviewer said about this film. I hope that the filmmaker found it to be a therapeutic process because otherwise, it's a very amateurish poorly crafted film. It's OK that the entire film is depressing, but none of the elements (cinematography, music, editing, acting, directing) made it interesting, so it's dark and boring. Even the titles looked cheap. The use of black and white footage was a colossal mistake. Another reviewer said it was "like scene changes in a play while the set is being switched." Paul Sorvino and Andrew Divoff were good, but even so, their performances couldn't save this sinking ship. The fighting amongst the classroom children looked incredibly fake. The director should cut out all of the black and white footage, shoot some great looking exterior shots, put in some music that actually contributes to the story, re-edit the film, ADR a lot of the dialog and then he'd have a better product, otherwise, if I HAD to see this, I'd rather just see a version of it as a play because that's what it felt like. The director kept switching from one interior to another without even using establishing shots.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Badly acted, Melodramatic, Drawn out

1/10
Author: codefilmmaker-836-506761 from United States
5 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This contains spoilers! Went to the premiere of this a couple weeks ago to support a friend who worked on the film and asked my girlfriend and I to come keep him company. He told us it was bad before we went so we didn't have high expectations and we read all the reviews from the LA Times and others that ripped this film to shreds but they were being polite. Just to clarify this was just a paycheck job for my buddy and he encouraged us to write our thoughts and give the filmmaker a reality check.

So this guy Shurchin says this film is based on his own life which is hard to believe because it is so melodramatic and ridiculous it appears more delusional than heart breaking. It follows the story of a 9 year old boy that leaves Russia with his parents to New York because of their fear against Jews regardless of the fact there's millions of Russian Jews. Harry Hamlin plays the father and the only person that shows a glimmer of talent but definitely one of his worst performances simply because the material is not the greatest. I like that guy though, he's a good dude. Met him and his wife at the premiere. After arriving in New York his character Deema is embarrassed he needs to have another job than what he did in Russia and that is apparently enough to be an alcoholic, dwell in self pity, and take his own life.

Meanwhile his mother Meela played by Angela Gots could make your eyes and ears bleed. This hideous and haggard looking woman yells too often. She was definitely the worst actor in the entire film. When I say worst I mean if it wasn't annoying it would be funny. A few of her scenes I did laugh but it was tempered by blood boiling in my ear drums. While none of her scenes were good some needed many many more takes. Even for the melodramatic this was unconvincing, uncontrolled, and caricature cartoonish. She then shacks up with the abusive Tolik played by Andrew Divoff. There is one ridiculous scene between her, Tolik, and the kid Daanyik that may be worth a look even just for a laugh. She too was at the premiere but unlike Hamlin and his wife she was very standoffish, rude, presents herself snobby as if she is better than everyone else. Only sucking up to a few. I kept my distance what was I going to say? Hi, nice to meet you, you were the worst actor in the film? I told my girlfriend she seems really childish but has an old wrinkly face and she says that's probably why her dress is from high school lmao ladies please! Samuel Dixon plays Daanyik, doing a pretty good job for this script. My main issue with this kid is his character is an angry little man with not a lot of that endearing kid spark that despite his problems would exist and make the audience on his side more instead it all gets lost in this grim, messy tale of self pity.

Daanyik also runs into bullies and a molesting rabbi. If you are wondering if there is a single nice character in this film it would be Paul Sorvino but don't expect a lot of uplifting moments. Expect a lot of drawn out, boring, pointless scenes, then jumping confusing scenes, and a lot of black and white footage from post World War II New York City on a constant basis trying to convince us this is some serious, dramatic, life changing exposure of the real immigrant life experience. Which I found very weird and distracting and for a film that is not that long to begin with in actual time not the time you feel like you are sitting there it seems like a lot of filler to take up time and make it look like a more serious true film or maybe to make up time they couldn't afford to film as this is obviously an extremely low budget film.

I don't want to knock the guy if this was really what happened to him and not an exaggeration hopefully this was therapeutic for him but this is not a well constructed, written, or executed film. Filmmaker to filmmaker, this needed much more work and time before it even went to film it looks like and a lot more during filming and post. That's my opinion of course.

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