Alejandro, a resourceful street orphan on the verge of adolescence, lives and works in an auto-body repair shop in a sprawling junkyard on the outskirts of Queens, New York. In this chaotic world of adults, Alejandro struggles to make a better life for himself and his sixteen-year-old sister.
Shotgun Stories tracks a feud that erupts between two sets of half brothers following the death of their father. Set against the cotton fields and back roads of Southeast Arkansas, these ... See full summary »
Bob Saginowski finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood's past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living - no matter the cost.
Around the world everyone knows that honest hard work gets you nowhere. In sunny Orlando, Florida, construction worker Dennis Nash learns this the hard way when he is evicted from his home by a charismatic, gun-toting real-estate broker, Rick Carver. Humiliated and homeless, Nash has no choice but to move his mom and nine-year old son into a shabby, dangerous motel. All is lost. Until an unexpected opportunity arises for Nash to strike a deal with the devil - he begins working for Carver in a desperate attempt to get his home back. Carver seduces Nash into a risky world of scamming and stealing from the banks and the government; he teaches Nash how the rich get richer. Living a double life, Nash hides his new boss and job from his family. He rises fast and makes real money; he dreams bigger. But there is a cost. On Carver's orders, Nash must evict honest families from their homes - just as it happened to him. Nash's conscience starts tearing him apart... but his son needs a home. In a...
Very well acted, but with a couple of distracting elements
I saw this at TIFF 2014 where it seemed to be received pretty positively.
Kudos to those involved with casting as every actor/actress, from the leading Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon, right down to those who were only in one or two scenes, did a really good job. There were a lot of confrontational emotions in this movie and the actors/actresses did a great job of getting me to empathize with their characters. I had a hard time believing that Laura Dern's young-looking character was Garfield's character's mother, but she acted well.
I felt that Bahrani struck a good balance between showing the audience Garfield's character's life with his family VS his professional life.
I found the music throughout the movie to be pretty appropriate. The music chosen for each scene complimented the dramatic tone of what was happening.
There were two things about the movie that bothered me enough to pull me out of the tense drama temporarily: (1) There were a couple of big coincidental moments (one of which is directly related to the final scene) that seemed a bit too fate-like. For a movie with the very real backdrop of the US housing market crash, and such believable characters, these unrealistic occurrences seemed out of place. (2) At one point, a montage format is used to quickly show Garfield's character go through a bunch of different exchanges with other characters. This quick cutting from scenario to scenario is a missed opportunity to fully immerse us viewers in a couple of heart-wrenching moments. As a result, the mixed emotions that I recognized I was supposed to feel weren't as strong as they could have been.
Overall, this drama was well done. I think it could have been better in some areas, but it was still a nice watch.
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