Friday, January 24, 2014

Sundance movie six: It's hell in God's Pocket.

Director John Slattery at the Salt Lake City
screening of God's Pocket.
I'll start with the headline: I didn't like this movie.

God's Pocket is directed by John Slattery who plays Roger Sterling on Mad Men.  As a Mad Men fan, I wanted to like this movie.  But in the end, it's a little much like Roger Sterling; ruthless and uncaring. OK, maybe sometimes there's a little bit of heart.

This is the story of a working class man whose step son is killed in an accident in what I think is 1970s Philadelphia.  His wife thinks something fishy is going on and that it wasn't an accident. She's right but never vindicated.

If you like Quentin Tarantino movies I have a feeling you'll like this. Here's the subhead: I don't like Quentin Tarantino movies.  People like to label films like this "dark comedies."  I find them troubling.  Listening to the audience laugh uproariously at so many disturbing images was frightening, particularly when one character had his eyeball popped, blood squirting everywhere. Hilarious.

But it's not just my aversion to gratuitous violence that makes me not like this movie.  Many of the performances fell short. It felt like Philip Seymour Hoffman phoned in his performance.  He was lethargic, distant, and downright slow. Maybe that was the character he was going for. But if I didn't know better, I would have thought he was drugged up during the making of this film.

Oh, and there was the creepy local newspaper reporter hitting on the character played by Mad Men's Christina Hendricks. He was almost unwatchable. Really? An attractive, troubled woman would have sex with a slimy, old guy just because he took her to the country for a picnic. That's the dream of a lot of straight men I know.  And I can say that as an old guy.

I can't completely blame the filmmakers.  I felt the plot had plenty of problems. Sure, the local mortician was a bad guy.  But I find it completely implausible that any care taker would drag a body outside and leave it in the street without facing criminal charges.  You Tarantino fans will love it!

This movie has plenty of buzz and I'm bound to be wrong, So take my review for what it's worth. But I say God's Pocket is not worth seeing.

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