(1998)

Critic Reviews

71

Metascore

Based on 15 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
90
The New York Times
The dialogue and the ensemble acting maintain a near-perfect pitch.
90
Mike Armstrong's relentlessly downbeat script allows Demme to develop an ensnaring camaraderie coupled with a dark destructiveness that recalls Eugene O'Neill.
80
Village Voice
Under Ted Demme's accomplished direction, the film unfolds with a kind of ruthless simplicity, observing, rather than stating, the neighborhood's intricate social connections.
78
Leary, Demme, and screenwriter Mike Armstrong have come up with a brilliant, harrowing portrait of misplaced loyalties and savage valor that may be one of the best character-driven ensemble pieces to come around in some time.
75
There is a whole genre of films about childhood friends still living in the old neighborhood and going down the drain of crime and drugs. Few of them capture the fatigue and depression, and the futility, as well as this one, in which the characters hold on to their self-respect by obeying the very rules that are grinding them down.
75
ReelViews
With fresh dialogue and a willingness to show his protagonists in a less-than-favorable light, Demme has found a way to make this entry memorable.
75
Director Ted Demme (with a terse script by Mike Armstrong) keeps it darkly funny while exposing raw nerves in a buildup to unexpected tragedy.
70
Chicago Reader
Set in an expressively underlit environment, this rivetingly moody drama is enhanced by the restrained use of incidental music.
67
Entertainment Weekly
But where would these lads be without the pop-culture-happy language of Quentin Tarantino to fuel their bull sessions? Nowhere, that's where.
50
Christian Science Monitor
The story has some chillingly suspenseful episodes, although it's marred by overfamiliar themes and weak dialogue.

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