6.8/10
6,375
43 user 32 critic

Little Odessa (1994)

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

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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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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:

Brothers in blood. Partners in crime. 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 May 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mala Odessa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,300,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,095,885
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film contains just 454 shots in about 92 minutes of action (i.e. excluding the credits). This equates to an average shot length of about 12 seconds. This is very long compared to the 3 - 6 second standard of most Hollywood films made in the 1990s. See more »

Goofs

Obviously shot out of sequence because snow can be seen in some shots and not the next. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Features Vengeance Valley (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Savage and sad....
3 January 2012 | by tim-764-291856See all my reviews

I'm a long time fan of Tim Roth, who doesn't do nearly as much as I'd like him to, these days. The other British stalwart in this, the equally excellent Vanessa Redgrave was another point of interest for me.

There's a real brutal efficiency to this film that makes it unlikeable but also demands respect and our attention. Roth is the roving assassin who is forced to do his next job in his old neighbourhood and that means getting reacquainted with his family: dying Mum (Redgrave), hateful and abusive Father (Maximilian Spiel), as well as impressionable younger brother (Edward Furlong). 24 year old débutant director James Gray comes up with - and scripts - a surprisingly mature piece of crime cinema that is both poignant, moving and shocking.

To my mind, the violence should rate the film at 18, not 15; the cold- blooded unfeeling of Roth's callous and unflinching "jobs" don't even give us time for any bad taste to form in our mouths. I can see that some would find this a barrier to their enjoyment in what is mostly a character- driven drama of some depth. The winter-set scenes of back street Brooklyn are chillingly authentic and bleak and these help remind us of the family's Russian roots. The father, a devout Jew, who's also having an affair often speaks Russian still, hanging to his identity the best he can, in an alienating, changing and disintegrating world.

There are also some tender moments between assassin son and brain-tumour suffering mother, and of him lovemaking with his girlfriend, who wants to try to understand him and his motives. His younger brother tries to keep his own feet on the ground, whilst his sibling gradually but surely steals his innocence.

Yes, it is sad - and savage but strangely rewarding, too.


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