After a botched bank robbery lands his younger brother in prison, Connie Nikas embarks on a twisted odyssey through the city's underworld in an increasingly desperate-and dangerous-attempt to get his brother Nick out of jail.
Motivated by an almost ferocious love for his intellectually disabled brother, Nick, and an explosive mix of desperation and thirst for a better life, the abrasive and fledgeling criminal, Connie, involves his sibling in an ill-conceived bank robbery that swears to be a quick and easy job. Instead, things go utterly wrong, and Nick will wind up in Rikers Island after one unanticipated complication, forcing the desperate but determined Connie to embark on a nightmarish, no-holds-barred quest to bail Nick out. Inevitably, over the course of a long and violent night, Connie will go to great lengths to save Nick from a cruel fate, doomed, however, to do more harm than good. Is it all heading somewhere?Written by
The directors on white-privilege themes: "Crystal (Taliah Webster) has a line when Connie knocks at her door... her grandma says, 'Who is it?' And she says, 'I don't know, some white guy.' White people coming to this woman's home like it's their right. The grandmother is one of the sweetest people in the whole movie. In terms of class, the Jennifer Jason Leigh's character's inclusion is very important because it shows that mental illness knows no economic boundaries. Just because you have enough money isn't a guarantee that you won't have mental illness in your family. She's just as much in prison as Nick is. The prison ethos is dictating what's happening in the movie more so than anything else. With prison culture - both penal society and people moving out to the suburbs and locking their doors out of fear of some imaginary Charles Manson type or due to anti-crime propaganda - everyone is so isolated, they're in their own prisons. Connie is just barging around, across the boundaries, into a rich white person's home, into a Haitian family's home, into an African immigrant's apartment, etc. Connie has a key to every cell in the prison because he's so brazen and cynical." See more »
During the flashback scene outside White Castle, the acid-buying complainer is shown running along a street and then entering a cab. The street has red colored crosswalks (or bicycle paths) and the cab is green and white. Neither the red path nor any green and white cabs are found in New York City, let alone the Queens, New York area where the film takes place. See more »
Don't quite understand the very high ratings for this -- I picture friends of the producer, or interns at the distributor working away to find new ways to praise with faint damns. I saw it at BAM in Brooklyn, and the mostly hipster audience sat in stunned silence throughout - with occasional relieved chuckles at the few flashes of stupidity that came off as funny. Loud, violent, all closeups and menacing pretentious music unrelated to the action.
Pattinson indeed breaks his pretty boy mold, and works very hard - but a lot of "fucks" and running very fast down urban streets does not constitute a breakout performance. JL Leigh does her usual sterling job as a frighteningly dumb victim -- but she was on screen for maybe 4 minutes. The only performance that worked was the 16yo girl Crystal -- Taliah Webster seemed to inherently get the power of underplaying, and she did it brilliantly. Of course, she disappears as the whole mess grinds down, ceding the screen to the boys.
The coda at the end was indeed touching - but not in the way the director(s) may have intended. Actual (?) mentally disabled clients in treatment were shown in a therapy group as the credits rolled -- they were sweet and fascinating, but they were being used - hard - in a commercial film, as a career move by a millionaire actor.
Also, for a story trading so freely in the Queens, NY milieu - the sudden emergence of a large haunted house fun park, setting for a pointlessly violent beating of one of the few interesting characters, followed by giving him a huge dose of LSD -- was ridiculous. Not gritty, just cruel & pointless.
I debated a few seconds between a 2 or 3 rating -- but honesty won out. It's a 2.
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