The Movie: 9.5/10
Before I say what I think of this movie, let me say what I think of movies of this type. Fan-bloody-tastic. OK, on with the rest of what I have to say about God’s Pocket.
A story about people is a story I can get lost in. Yes, if you toss in some aliens, time/space travel, fantasy, talking animals, animated stuff, I’m into that too, but there is absolutely nothing like a movie that focuses on that thing called “the human condition”, whatever that is. In this story we meet a bunch of men who make bad decisions, women who tolerate it, and the torment we all go through when we see the world around us is so very wrong and yet we feel trapped in it forever.
One man, married to a beautiful woman who has a jerk of a son, trapped. A pretentious writer with a drinking problem writing about the same city for a newspaper column for many years, trapped. A neighborhood steeped with crime, lies, anger, and a gravity that won’t let go of anyone who is born and raised there, trapped. Anyone who comes along to be a part of the neighborhood, our trapped married man, is never really part of it. He doesn’t fully understand how people will do anything to get what they think they are entitled to. That’s where this story is so compelling. Characters do things that actually shock me. THAT is an accomplishment.
It’s sad and shocking, dangerous and sad, sad and infuriating, sad, and sad. But then it’s so stimulating and somewhat funny at times, then it offers a gasp or two. So good.
Every person, every single person is absolutely wonderful in their roles. Even a character who doesn’t speak at all, and one who has about 3 lines, impacts the story almost as fully and with as much quality as the “leading” characters. Seriously, I was hypnotized by Hoffman, obviously. He’s subtle but committed to this man and how life seems to have worn him down. John Turturro is fantastic, super fantastic. He’s wired but grounded, and his character is just about the only one with any kind of moral foundation. It’s flimsy, sure, but he’s less terrible than everyone else. Kristina Hendricks does that kind of performance that made me almost lean forward each time she was on the screen. She doesn’t have to say much to make the whole scene make sense from the expressions on her face, body language, and interaction with the other actors. Richard Jenkins is terminally tragic and obnoxious at the same time, which is a hard thing to pull off. In fact, that’s a good way to describe everyone in the whole of God’s Pockets.
I can’t say enough good things about this movie. I loved it. I was sucked into that world, those people, their choices and consequences, fully and completely. When the world melts away and the movie consumes me for it’s duration, that makes for a good movie watching experience which makes me glad I do love movies.
- Commentary With Director/Co-Writer/Producer John Slattery – Roger from Mad Men takes us through his journey directing his first film. One of the running themes here is how shooting on a tight budget is actually a healthy thing when it comes to making a film. Overall a technical look behind the curtain with a great film maker.
- Deleted Scenes – A few really rough looking deleted scenes, more Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a good thing though.
- TV Spot
Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
This cover tells the right amount of the story with the exact right image. Men struggling with life, stressed looks on their faces. Well, it’s more than that, of course. I would have this poster in my house because the movie is SO good!! The menu is functional.
Audio & Video: 7/10
God’s Pocket is a very natural looking film, devoid of studio lighting it really is as raw looking as a movie gets. Filmed digitally using an Arri camera Slattery and DP Lance Accord (Being John Malkovich) have done a great job with a very small budget. As far as the Blu-Ray transfer goes things look a little washed out on occassion and colors seem to be tweaked a little. But digital artifacting and DNR are not an issue. It’s a very uneven looking film with outdoor shots looking ultra HD and inside shots looking grainy and washed out. Still for the little money it cost to make it’s amazing it looks like it does.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound track is as subtle as it is excellent. Bringing the ambiance of this suburb of New York to your living room is no easy task, but this track succeeds on every level. One standout is right near the end of the movie gunshots ricochet round the rear channels and ambient traffic whizzes by. Of course God’s Pocket is a talky movie at heart and the dialog is always crisp clear and central.
Overall Score 9.5/10