Leo is released from prison after serving time for car theft. His plan to go straight falls apart when he meets his corrupt uncle for a job and later an old friend working there. It culminates at the (railroad) yards.
In the rail yards of Queens, contractors repair and rebuild the city's subway cars. These contracts are lucrative, so graft and corruption are rife. When Leo Handler gets out of prison, he finds his aunt married to Frank Olchin, one of the big contractors; he's battling with a minority-owned firm for contracts. Willie Gutierrez, Leo's best friend, is Frank's bag man and heads a crew of midnight saboteurs who ruin the work of the Puerto Rican-owned firm. Leo needs a job, so Willie pays him to be his back-up. Then things go badly wrong one night, a cop IDs Leo, and everyone now wants him out of the picture. Besides his ailing mom and his cousin Erica, to whom can Leo turn?Written by
Director James Gray and stars Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix worked together again 7 years later for the movie "We Own the Night" (2007). See more »
The pearl handled pistol that Frank Olchin removes from his sock drawer was sitting on his desk in the study, the room he just left. See more »
The Unrated cut is 113 minutes and two scenes from the original theatrical R-rated cut have been removed. This version is about two minutes shorter. The final scene in court when Leo testifies and states that he has reformed and is reentering society as a productive citizen, has been dropped. A brief scene early in the film in which Willie (Phoenix) describes the importance of favors and gifts and "making it happen" is also cut (this scene however does appears on the included trailer on the DVD). The end credits now begin with 'empty' views of the film's settings before moving into the credits list. Also included on the DVD are several deleted scenes. See more »
Thoroughly enjoyable, but only Joaquin Phoenix was remarkable
The yards is a film about the shady on-goings of the contractors in New York City who work to rebuild the city's subway cars. Underneath the suits are ruthless mean trying to get ahead in the busines by whatever means necassary. Everything seems to be going fine until Leo Handler (Wahlberg) gets out of prison and enters into the dark business himself, his presence will trigger a series of events that will rock their dangerous world.
Leo finds that his aunt (Dunaway) has married one of the biggest contractors, Frank Olchin (Caan). With no money and a patrol officer breathing down his back, his mother (Burstyn) in bad shape, Leo turns to Frank to help him out by giving him a job in his successful business. Leo wants to follow in his best friend, Willie's (Phoenix) footsteps in the business, 'cause it seems Willie is doing ok for himself, with enough cash to spare for his girlfriend (Theron) and consequently Leo's cousin and one-time-love. But when a money-deal goes wrong, Willie kills a yard-master and Leo beats a cop into a coma - something that could see him revisiting prison and getting a life sentence. Now Leo is on the run, and blamed for the murder aswell. The business that welcomed him with open arms, is now looking to get rid of him, before he brings down all they worked for.
The Yards is slow at times. The story-telling appears to go at a snails pace, but thats ok, because the story-tellers (the actors) are more than enthralling enough to entertain for the whole 110 minutes. Wahlberg is deep and moody as always, and while the performance mirrors alot of his previous works, he still seems to have 'something' that keeps you hooked. Theron proves she is more than just a pretty face as she plays a soft-spoken character who has much to hide and slowly reveal as the plot thickens. But the out-standing performance is Joaquin Phoenix. This man can do no wrong and is seriously one of the best actors of our time. He is disturbingly dark at times, but can easily switch gears and play-out the most emotionally intense scene with just a single tear running down his cheek. this man is amazing, and one day justice should be carried out and he should be handed an Oscar.
Watch this film, if for nothing more than to check out the Wahlberg/Phoenix punch-up which the actors really participated in (and were apparently black and blue the next day). Great, great film.
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