6.7/10
7,323
42 user 33 critic

Little Odessa (1994)

R | | Crime, Drama | 19 May 1995 (USA)
Early 1990s drama about a family of Soviet Jews living in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach ocean-side neighborhood nicknamed Little Odessa.

Director:

James Gray

Writer:

James Gray
4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Roth ... Joshua Shapira
Edward Furlong ... Reuben Shapira
Moira Kelly ... Alla Shustervich
Vanessa Redgrave ... Irina Shapira
Paul Guilfoyle ... Boris Volkoff
Natalya Andreychenko ... Natasha
Maximilian Schell ... Arkady Shapira
David Vadim ... Sasha
Mina Bern ... Grandma Tsilya
Boris McGiver ... Ivan
Mohammed Ghaffari Mohammed Ghaffari ... Pahlevi
Michael Khmurov ... Yuri
Dmitry Preyers Dmitry Preyers ... Victor
David Ross David Ross ... Anatoly
Ron Brice Ron Brice ... Man with One Leg
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Storyline

This film tells a bitter tale of a dysfunctional family. Joshua, a cold-blooded professional killer, returns to his Brighton Beach boyhood home for a "job." He knows it will be difficult to return to the Russian-immigrant community of his youth--in his eyes, we see anticipation of the inevitable emotional pain and psychic turmoil that seeing his forsaken family and estranged companions will bring him. To do his job, and try to maintain some semblence of sanity, he has had to wall off his humanity from even himself. Seeing his kid brother, who adores him, talking with his dying mother, who still loves him, and yes, arguing with his abusive father, begins to wreak havoc with his personal defenses. As his steely demeanor begins to dissolve, we are shown the soul of a hit-man crumbling away, piece by piece. Finally, all that he now allows himself to admit that he loves is agonizingly torn away from him and he is left with the ultimate punishment for his transgressions. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Between good and evil and heaven and hell is... See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong shootings, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The building used for Mr Schell's mistress was 9701 Shore Road, also used in Saturday Night Fever (1977). See more »

Goofs

The name in Russian is transliterated as Shapiro, with an 'o,' not Shapira. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joshua Shapira: It's done.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Opening Night of Close-Up (1996) See more »

User Reviews

 
We'll wait 10 seconds and see if God saves you
18 August 2013 | by OJTSee all my reviews

Little Odessa, also release under the title "Contract killer" is a very effectively and realistically told mobster movie, from the Russian community. It's a take on the prodigal son, here as a cold contract killer. A great watch for connoisseurs of films, and mobster film in particular.

The movie stands out for great acting, directing and photography, being James Gray directorial debut. Music is excellent as well. The actors are making this a great watch. The whole film is stuffed with fabulous acting. Tim Roth and Edward Furlong is both fabulous as the brothers, as Vanessa Redgrave and Maximillian Schell is as the mother and the abusive father. I think this is some of the best I've seen from them all.

The film starts up with the contract killer, being the older brother Joshua Shapira coming back to his hometown of Brooklyn after being away for years, to do a contract job. He fled town after committing a killing, which obviously is not forgotten. He meets his younger brother, Reuben, which tells him that their mother is terminally ill with brain tumor. Joshua wants to see the mother, but are not welcomed by the father, being a danger to the whole family since wanted by the mobsters.

It's bleak, cold, gritty, effective and what I believe very realistic told. I was immediately sucked into the story, which is following the younger brother more than the older hit-man. it's no action movie, but a mobster movie told in the way we've seen many times. This does not stand back from these. The film builds slowly up to great scenes.

It's powerful on emotions, far more than on the action. However the persons are quite cold, and so is the violence. And there isn't much hope to see in the dreary days of this family.

The quote "We'll wait 10 seconds and see if God saves you" is said by Tim Roth's character before he does a killing. I would regard this is a must-see for mob film lovers, and a classic in the genre. I would likewise recommend the brilliant and effective "Eastern promises" by David Cronenberg, telling a story from the Russian mafia in Great Britain.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 May 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Little Odessa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,300,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,095,885

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,095,885
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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