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actor John Slattery makes his feature film directorial debut
impressively by converting Pete Dexterís 1983 novel into a dark, dark
film highlighted by wonderful acting by a terrific cast, headlined by
Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his last roles.
Sometimes you go to a movie for the story, but occasionally the story
takes a back seat to the acting, and thatís what happens here. Along
those lines it sort of reminded me of another Hoffman movie, Doubt
(2008), in which Hoffman played a priest accused of abusing young
children and was joined by a cast that included Amy Adams, Viola Davis,
and Meryl Streep, all of whom were at the top of their game. While the
story was interesting, what made the movie was the acting.
what is so compelling about this movie. Mickey Scarpato (Hoffman) is
married to Jeannie (Christina Hendricks). Her goofy son, Leon (Caleb
Landry Jones, in a terrific performance as a really disturbed young man)
is killed. Mickey has to foot the cost of the funeral, but he has lots
of problems, not the least of which is raising the cash to pay for it.
performances are mind-blowing. Richard Jenkins is, as usual, terrific as
an alcoholic newspaper columnist, and so is Hendricks as Mickeyís
disconsolate wife. But even the bit players stand out. Mickey is
involved with lots of real scumbags, and the people playing them all
give award-quality performances, even though they are a long way from
of the credit has to go to Slattery who takes this little story and
makes it into a film that never once had me looking at my watch. The
people in Godís Pocket live drab lives with almost nothing to look
forward to. Ití not a happy story, but the acting is something you wonít