torsdag 16 oktober 2014

God´s Pocket

Early this year, i was shocked by the news, Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead, possibly by a drug overdose. Such a talented actor died too young , he had such a powerful screen presence that felt honest, and realistic. There are so many motion pictures where he did so many great performances, but who can forget Capote, or perhaps The Savages ? Plenty of more titles to choose between, this man was a very unique actor. As he passed away, i did found out he have finished some new films, so we would get to see him again on screen, in different genres. God´s Pocket is one of the final films that Hoffman managed to finish before tragedy struck. This is actually a debut feature film for director John Slattery, who some of you might have seen in the Tv series Mad Men. As an actor he have been in some big motion pictures like Traffic, Flags Of Our Fathers and Iron Man 2. Now he makes his first directorial debut with God´s Pocket, a drama film that did not get much screenings, but became noticed at film festivals. I heard Philip Seymour Hoffman in a interview, while promoting God´s Pocket, and it seemed like he enjoyed being a part of this film ( as he is also one of the producers ). Considering my respect for Philips earlier work, is this motion picture at the same level as his classic films, or is God´s Pocket a film that should have been left alone on a shelf ?

Mickey Scarpato ( Philip Seymour Hoffman ), is a family man, who tries to deal with his personal problems. His step son Leon Scarpato ( Caleb Landry Jones ), have a job, but his co workers don´t like him, because he is so cocky. Until one day, when one of the workers have had enough of Leon´s big mouth, and hit him in the head with an iron pipe. Leon is dead, as his mother Jeannie Scarpato ( Christina Hendricks ) is informed. She is devastated, and want answers what really happened at Leon´s work. They have been told it was an accident, that he only hit his head, but Jeannie demand Mickey to find out the real truth. Mickey´s friend and business partner Arthur 'Bird' Capezio ( John Turturro ) have a debt, that he owns Mickey. But he promise to pay him back, when he can.  Arthur knows something happened to Leon, so he decide to help Mickey find out the truth. Newspaper column writer Richard Shelburn ( Richard Jenkins ) is contacted to write about the killing of the boy Leon. His boss thinks there is another side of the truth, of what really happened. Richard go down to interview Jeannie about her son, to try and write a story on this tragedy. Mickey´s gambling problem are becoming bigger, as he continue drinking. He spends some of the funeral money, gambling on horse races. As the truth comes out over Leon´s death, the situation is out of control.

Knowing that this was one of the last films Philip Seymour Hoffman finished, i can say that i had no idea what God´s Pocket would be like. I tried to read as little as possible about the film, did not even see the trailer, just to prepare myself in a curious way. If you love Hoffman on screen, don´t worry, he still delivers in God´s Pocket. This is actually an interesting story, about family, taking your own consequences, and making choices in life. A mixture of influences from working class stories, how to survive in the big city. Director John Slattery seems to be interested in ordinary day people, who don´t have lots of money, but try and survive any way they can. One of the strongest performances is without a doubt John Turturro, who is a legendary actor with the right material. If you have not seen Barton Fink, rent it, and see how great he is as an author. Here he tries to give his portrait of criminal Arthur 'Bird' Capezio a personal look, as he head out on business trips. I also enjoy the performance of young Caleb Landry Jones, as a very unsecure man, who thinks he is on top of the world. You might remember him from The Last Exorcism, as Nell´s little brother. I have a feeling this man can become something special in the future, since he is such a great actor for his young age. Philip Seymour Hoffman´s character Mickey Scarpato is a man with no future plans, he lives by the day. This character fits Hoffman´s acting abilities, since he is really good at doing realistic characters. God´s Pocket is a drama film, that brings up human crisis, depression, and life situations, where anything can happen when tragedy strikes. For a first time feauture film, i feel that director John Slattery delivers a powerful film, with a lot to say. There are flaws, still i like the stories put together. Life is hard, sometimes you just do what you have to do, no matter what the results are.

Rating: DDD

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