The harsh realities of life on the street merge with the universal themes of youthful pain and exhilaration in director Dito Montiel's telling tale of one boy's struggle to escape the grim fate that awaits his aimless, trouble-minded peers. For most of Montiel's friends, the only means of escaping their bleak surroundings were drugs, prison, or death. In breaking the cycle and making a name for himself as a filmmaker, Montiel showed that there are ways to overcome the urban malaise that consumed the majority of his friends. He couldn't have done it alone, though, and with this film Montiel pays tribute to those he left behind by bringing their story to the screen so that their struggles may give others in similar situations the courage to pursue a more positive, creative means of overcoming their anger. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
I really enjoyed this movie. The cast was exceptional. Shia LaBeouf, Chazz Palmenteri, Dianne Weist, and Channing Tatum brought such rich performances to their characters. I identified with the storylines of both young men one yearning to escape from a world where he sees no hope for growth and the other young man who yearns for affection and family. Robert Downey should be commended to bringing this story forward.
Sympatheric portrayal of a young man's desparate attempt to escape his roots. Chazz Palminteri excellently examines all the nuances of Dito's father Monty. Channing Tatum was almost too dead-on as Dito's thug friend and Monty's replacement son Antonio. It seems the director (who happens to be Dito Montiel himself) wnts us to feel sorry for Antonio. Rosario Dawson is ineffective in a limited role as the adult version of Dito's girlfriend. Universally, I preferred the performances of the younger characters to their adult versions. And I can't get that song ("New York Groove") out of my head!
This movie was very refreshing. It was about a coming of age teen overcoming the rough neighborhood stereotypes with the help of a new friend from another country. There is also two other underlying stories within this movie: the father/son relationship and the caged animal story. Definitely worth the time to watch!
The best way to watch this movie is to make up a drinking game in which every time the "f" word is uttered you take a swig of beer. That way within five minutes you'll be on the floor dead drunk. Seriously, the main downfall of this movie -other than the supposedly "cutting edge" (boring) jagged editing is the characters. And, yes, I know this is supposed to be based on real characters and such. But we've seen everyone of these characters in a dozen other movies done a lot better. Which is a real tragedy in a character driven movie. You're doomed from the start. Surprising they didn't notice that from the outset. Oh well, sometimes real life stories just don't make movies and this one , my friends, is one of them.
A waste of protential viewers' time, talent of the actors and production crew, and of money.
The language, and most scenes, i found so offensive, and the fact that it seemed there was not going to be anything redeeming about the movie, i shut the movie off after only 5-10 minutes.
I will simply say that we were unable to watch more than the first 15 minutes of this self indulgent "small movie." Foul language and sexually charged scenes were supposed to represent "grit" and "true life," but come across as crass, gratuitous and easy prey for the film maker. Anyone with a camera and no sense of vision could make a movie about any group by portraying the obvious "low hanging fruit." Beware reviews writen by anyone who thinks this movie worthy of a full screening, much less a second viewing.
This movie is not for someone who needs the fast-paced entertainment of mainstream hyped-up films. It requires you to think, stay the course, and appreciate the writer/director's message. I thought it was an excellent first film for a director, and the acting was well executed.
Any one of the actors in this film would be proud to list it on their resume. Absolutely suberb acting. It is true this movie is a bit slow at first. But, all great movies are carefully crafted to open up layers gradually revealing the truth and the message. I would watch this film again and again. What a wonderful cast!!! The directions is real and masterful. The film is a visual feast even though it is set in a tacky burrow of New York of the 70's. Great selections of background misic clips too.
Dito's own story - Robert Downey Jr does (his real life friend from back then) well in playing Dito. Amazing job. Chazz Palminteri as Ditto's father again was just amazing. Great peformances in a small story with a large message. I hope there is more to come from Dito.