Top positive review
16 people found this helpful
Amazing drama ! Tim Roth at his best.
on 21 July 2007
This 1994 film is set in Brighton Beach, the area of Brooklyn where Russians have settled. It's a rough and gritty neighborhood and we meet a family with multiple problems. The oldest son, Tim Roth, is a hit man for the mob who's been out of touch with his family for several years but has to come back to the neighborhood to carry out a murder. His teenage brother adores him and follows him to all the wrong places. The mother, played by Vanessa Redgrave, is dying of a brain tumor. The father, played by Maximillian Schell, works hard all day at a newspaper stand, cheats on his wife and is brutal to his sons. There is violence and murder throughout and the audience knows it will just get worse.
Usually, I complain because films like this are not realistic. However, I felt just the opposite about this film. It is almost too realistic, cruel and depressing. And there is no bit of lightness to offset the somber mood. I also felt some real emotion. To me this was serious stuff.
Performances were uniformly excellent, especially that of Maximillian Schell. He came across a real person with upsets and conflicts and bad choices. Tim Roth, who is actually a British actor, managed to get the New York street accent just right. The rest of the cast seemed completely authentic. I especially liked the family's large run-down apartment and the scenes shot near the beach during the winter. And the murders made me shudder because they were so very real.
The drama held my attention and let me feel the dilemma of this troubled family. It ends sadly, as I expected it would. And it is completely depressing. However, I liked it and therefore recommend it.