A tale of family, friendships and betrayal in the violent world of the Philadelphia mob.
Matthias Schoenaerts stars as Peter, a begrudging heir to a Philly mob family who must follow his heart or stay loyal to his family. While this sounds familiar, the film had such potential to bring us a story of love and loyalty, but it became a disjointed mess with characters who never let us in. Joel Kinneman plays the stereotypical hothead not-so-bright cousin with no conscience who pushes Peter to conform. We get glimpses into Peter’s traumatic past as he looks back on his upbringing and why he puts up with his cousin. This, unfortunately, is as close as we will get to this man who, as an adult, seems to do nothing more than brood and try to keep his cousin from detonating, killing anything that upsets or betrays him. It’s a dark and gritty film that has no heart or character to root for.
Based on the novel by Pete Dexter, this is a mess of a film that feels unfinished from start to end. Key relationships and grudges are implied rather than spelled out while the characters all come off as one-note stereotypes, the actors conveying the same simple emotions from scene to scene. The story isn’t hard to follow but there simply isn’t a sense of engagement as we’ve been done this path many times before, this movie playing like a shorthand version of far better movies. The cast is composed of veteran performers, all of whom are coasting through this misguided effort.