This post is part of Cinematic Katzenjammer‘s NOT-SO-SECRET SANTA REVIEW SWAP blogathon. This is the second installment of the blogathon where you “gift” a movie and then get one in return. I did this back in July with my review of Tremors (1990). I welcome this kind of blogathon as it gives me a chance to step out of my comfort zone as it were, as you don’t know what movie you’ll be gifted. Fortunately Nick gave me something that’s available on Netflix streaming.
Gimme the Loot (2012)
When their latest work is buffed by a rival crew, two determined graffiti writers embark on an elaborate plan to *bomb* the ultimate location: the New York Mets’ Home Run Apple.
Director/Writer: Adam Leon
Cast: Ty Hickson, Tashiana Washington
I remember reading a review of this a while back and though I was intrigued, I kind of forgotten about it. So I was glad to get this one as a ‘gift.’ I was prepared to see something that’s off-the-beaten path, and this one certainly offers that, for better or for worse.
The premise isn’t something I’m familiar with, as I’m not a baseball fan nor do I know much of anything about the world of graffiti. Apparently the term *bomb* here refers to the act of graffiti writing, nothing to do with explosives, but that’s obvious from the start. The story focuses on two Bronx teens Malcolm and Sofia, a pair of graffiti artists who embarks on a whirlwind quest to bomb the NY Mets home-run apple. I didn’t even know what that place look like that I had to Google it. The very idea was sparked by rival graffiti artists from Queens who tag their work, so basically it’s a turf war of sort even though it centers more on how these two kids come up with $500, which is the amount of money needed to gain access to the stadium.
Though the film is set in NYC in English, I feel like watching a foreign movie as I could barely understand the thick Bronx accent with VERY colorful language. As you know, I’m not a fan of foul language, but in this case, it’s just the reality of how the people in this subculture talk in their daily life. It’s a bit tricky to follow what’s going on at times because of this reason though, but fortunately we’ve got quite a likable duo here with Ty Hickson as Malcolm and Tashiana Washington as Sophia. I’m especially fond of the latter, she’s definitely a talented actress I hope to see more of.
These kids are made tough by situation, and I can’t help but really feel for them as I learn just how significant this goal is for them. It seems that Sophia end up having a far worse day of the two. I mean she got robbed and swindled several times over the course of 24 hours! Granted they’re not saintly themselves, I mean Malcolm is a drug dealer and the two are petty thieves in their own right, but it’s clear these kids had it rough. The story feels rather all over the place however, there’s an odd encounter between Malcolm and a blond girl Ginnie (Zoë Lescaze) when he made his drug delivery. The acting is rather awkward though it could be because all of the actors don’t have a lot of experience. Ginnie becomes part of their scheming later on, which involves a rather elaborate plan involving a tattooed-fellow named Champion (Meeko). He’s an interesting character who turns out to be not so much a champion after all as he fails to pick a lock which is the key to Malcolm’s master plan.
What I do like is the effortless friendship between the two and the way the camera follows them around as they manage to come up with the cash anyway they can has a bit of a documentary feel to it. New York City itself is almost a character on its own right, as the film shows the non-glamorous side of the Burroughs and street corners we don’t usually see in mainstream movies. Their frank conversation between Malcolm and Sophia—however vulgar and uncouth—has a certain charm and humor. I’m especially taken by Tashiana Washington‘s performance. Her Sophia is definitely the strongest character between the two, and serves as the voice of reason throughout the film despite their dire situation.
Overall I quite enjoyed this one, so I’m glad I saw it. I just wish there’s more to the story and the ending was more sharply-written. The denouement just feels incomplete somehow, perhaps it’s deliberate but it just wasn’t working for me. I do like the fact that there wasn’t a forced romance written into the plot, which makes it rather refreshing. Not a bad debut from Adam Leon on a shoe-string budget.
Has anyone seen this movie? I’d love to hear what you think!