God's Pocket


Action / Crime / Drama


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September 11, 2014 at 08:30 PM



Philip Seymour Hoffman as Mickey Scarpato
Christina Hendricks as Jeanie Scarpato
Eddie Marsan as Smilin' Jack Moran
John Turturro as Arthur 'Bird' Capezio
720p 1080p
701.65 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 28 min
P/S 0 / 0
1.24 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 28 min
P/S 1 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by lor_ 9 / 10

Slattery's People

Actor turned director John Slattery brings his trademark black humor and cynicism from his MAD MEN role (and effective helming of occasional episodes) to the big screen with the successfully offbeat GOD'S POCKET, a faithful adaptation of Pete Dexter's 1983 novel about the Lower Depths of a Philly neighborhood. Clearly not for all tastes, the film appealed to my love of against the grain, anti-trendy cinema (more about that later).

The late Philip Seymour Hoffman clearly admired this material too, taking on a producer credit, as did the film's cinematographer. His role is reminiscent of his work in Sidney Lumet's final movie BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD, portraying a ne'er-do-well criminal trying to survive in a hostile environment. It's not a showy role, and Hoffman consistently underplays while Slattery gives many supporting players the flashy, show-stopping scenes.

Slattery shows great confidence in never explicitly referring to the film's time frame ('80s) -there are no superimposed Time Cards, no narration, just the period clothing, cars and old rotary telephones to indicate we're watching a period piece. Hoffman is cast as an outsider in the Philadelphia slum cynically known as God's Pocket, married to the glamorous Christina Hendricks (a Slattery good luck charm from his lengthy stint opposite her on MAD MEN), living with her nutty and self- destructive son (flamboyant and talented young actor Caleb Landry Jones).

Hoffman's partner in crime is skillfully etched by John Turturro, who like Hoffman is a gambling addict. They are more in danger from The Mob than the police due to their inevitable debts arising from playing the ponies, and Turturro's pipe dreams of owning a race horse some day.

The ensuing comedy of errors gives Slattery the opportunity to distract and surprise the viewer with unexpected turns of events and shocks which I won't spoil here. Character actress Joyce Van Patten, whom I have admired since first being impressed by her '60s TV appearances and choice role over 40 years back in the forgotten 20th Century Fox youth picture MAKING IT, highlights the movie's most memorable scene as Turturro's sister running a flower shop and dealing with a couple of armed and dangerous Mob goons.

Themes of the story, personal to author Dexter and drawn from his stint as a reporter in Philly, are brought out by the nearly washed-up columnist effortlessly played by Richard Jenkins. His adulterous romance with Hendricks' character is unbelievable, but Hendricks (still awaiting the breakthrough movie role she deserves a la Sophia Loren's career-making opportunity in TWO WOMEN) does lend her ambiguity and nuance known to her legion of fans from MAD MEN's Joan to almost make it work.

Dealing with the venal undertaker Eddie Marsan (a standout here on loan from Mike Leigh's stock company), Hoffman descends into strange and uncomfortable black comedy dealing with the "body removal" antics involving his stepson, treated by Slattery using a flashback structure that may or may not have been the best choice for storytelling. Various violent outbursts lead to a coda which almost parodies happy endings.

Besides the Hitchcockian morbid black humor involving the stepson's corpse, the climactic moment of mob violence (not Mob but lowercase mob) in which the insular denizens of God's Pocket unite against outsiders recalls the Master of Suspense's power to deliver the coup de grace, notably in LIFEBOAT.

Critics generally dismissing GOD'S POCKET are clearly entitled to their opinions, but miss the point. Like the great B movies of the '40s and '50s (including films noirs), many of which have lived on to entertain future generations of movie buffs who have little time or patience for the big-budget blockbusters (and Oscar-bait) of that era, Slattery has crafted a character-driven, idiosyncratic entertainment that is out of step with current trends.

It is easy to criticize and lampoon the mainstream sellouts of the Michael Bay persuasion, but as a long-time film fanatic and former professional critic I am more militantly opposed to the recent wave of all-flash/no-substance "visionaries" (I truly hate that trailer cliché) dominant today. Bloated junk like THE WOLF OF WALL STREET = big box office and mindless raves/Oscar noms, but is embarrassing and nearly unwatchable. How can a film historian like Scorsese ignore the famous warnings of Frank Capra's autobiography (where he explained why he retired from directing after suffering at the hands of overly powerful actors in charge like Glenn Ford and Frank Sinatra) and end up grinding out padded and tiresome Leonardo DiCaprio vehicles? Could it be the almighty dollar, or does the maestro merely fancy himself as an American Visconti?

At any rate, I hope Slattery does not go this route (Scorsese's decline from gritty, effective early films to elephantine latter-day projects repeats the great Otto Preminger's similar career missteps), and instead maintains his personal approach. The man's talented and perfectly capable of making an Eastwood-esque transition from actor to successful director.

Reviewed by sjmd1156-1 5 / 10

Maybe I'm easily pleased, but then so's a lot of other people!

I was brought up thinking that a book had to have a story line packed full of memorable incidents, poems had to rhyme, and films were supposed to be full of action to be appreciated. I'm glad to say that I grew out of that 'please me quick' attitude. Yes if I'm in the mood for a dose of that I can gladly take it, but these days you are likely to overdose on that. I tend to seek films like this these days and I'm not at all disappointed. God's Pocket has been explained a few times already so I won't bother to do that. I'm just here to try and encourage others to enjoy this film for what it is, a great little offbeat film with tremendous characters, an everyday story of working people that takes a few twists and turns here and there, with a lovely dark streak running right through it. I for one loved it.

Reviewed by bcheng93 7 / 10

the negative reviewers here wouldn't know a good movie if it hit them in the head

very very watchable movie probably best described as a black comedy drama which happens to be Hoffmans last role in a movie.

boy! let me start off by saying that i'm a Chinese American that grew up in a middle class neighborhood just like this...an Italian neighborhood pre-dominantly. underneath this middle class surface there was so much dirt around that it wasn't funny. everybody knew somebody that was crooked, backstabbing, lying, cheating and doing shady things was the norm.

i remembered when i was a young teen...one day a African American boy walked his Italian girlfriend home to her neighborhood and the neighborhood boys threw him off the top of a building and killed him. these motherf**kers thought they were invincible and doing wrong was doing right.

this movie got it just right, the neighborhood and the grit and grime. the only good guy was the construction company owner...everybody else was a scumbag including and especially the young man who died at the construction yard at the start of the movie. that's the funny thing about life in my neighborhood...you know inside that your child is a scum*g, but he's still a saint in the parents eyes...LOL!

all i'm saying is that i grew up in a neighborhood like this and the movie hits home. these motherf**kers were a biased and racist bunch of bullies. i mean how hard is it for a mob to beat up one man? then they feel good about it.

anybody that lived in a neighborhood like this would get what the movie is about. a totally depressing movie brought to life by a great ensemble cast. it didn't hurt that there were some deliciously funny black and comedic moments in it.

all in all...i totally recommend this movie, i mean even if you don't like the subject matter, there were some great actors and actresses in it, close or at the top of their game.

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