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Review: God's Pocket

God's Pocket
May. 4, 2014by:
100%
5 10

NOTE: This review originally ran as part of our Sundance 2014 coverage.

PLOT: Mickey (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a small-time schemer married to the beautiful Jeannie (Christina Hendricks) and living in the working class neighbourhood of God's Pocket. When his adult step-son dies under mysterious circumstances, Mickey's forced to investigate.

REVIEW: Actor John Slattery is famous for his role as Roger Sterling on AMC's MAD MEN. What's less known about Slattery is that he's directed some of the best episodes in the last few seasons of the series, and now he makes his big screen directorial debut with this adaptation of Pete Dexter's novel. A small-scale character piece, this feels like a logical first-time film from a long-time actor, and as such many of the performances are excellent, even if the film is somehow less that satisfying.

Probably the best way to describe GOD'S POCKET is by adopting that familiar- if overused- term quirky which has been used to describe many Sundance films. Quirky is fine, but there needs to be more to a movie than that or it starts to feel hollow. Sadly, that's the case with GOD'S POCKET. Set in a more than a little seedy community, Hoffman plays something of an outsider as the ne'er do well Mickey. A decent guy despite his scheming, he's been welcomed into the community thanks to his marriage to the neighbourhoods most desired woman, Jeannie. While he gets the gorgeous Jeannie, he also has to deal with her psycho son Noel, played by Caleb Landry Jones, who likes torturing animals, hurling racial slurs at every minority he sees, and constantly brandishes a straight-razor. When he threatens the wrong person with his razor, he gets his head caved-in, and Jeannie demands Mickey get to the bottom of what happened.

If this sounds like a kind of mystery, that's misleading as Noel's death actually has very little to do with the proceedings. Rather, the film (as I assume is the case with Dexter's novel) is more concerned with the various characters and in the community, including John Turturro's mob-connected flower-shop owner, Eddie Marsan's scumbag funeral director, and Richard Jenkins as an alcoholic local writer who thinks of himself as the town's official scribe.

Fittingly for a film directed by an actor, this is a performers showcase. Everyone does good work, with Seymour Hoffman especially good as Mickey. The problem is that the film- despite running a mere ninety minutes- drags. If you're an actor, you might be interested with the ways everyone's allowed to explore the quirks of their characters, but most casual viewers won't care. By a half-hour I had spent enough time in God's Pocket to know it wasn't the place for me. Slattery's probably got a solid career ahead of him as a director, but the film doesn't really have much of a style- although credit has to go to the costume designers for doing a good job recreating drab seventies-era clothing (the era the film seems to take place in although no year is given). The only time the film comes to life is in the brief unexpected instances of graphic violence, such as an out-of-nowhere eye gouging, and a quick, albeit kind of hilarious shootout.

On the whole, GOD'S POCKET isn't a particularly bad film, but it's still drab and uninteresting. It's hard to invest in any of the characters, and it just seemed dull. Still, the performances are solid so if you're a die-hard Seymour Hoffman fan you might want to give it a look ( note: this review was written before his tragic passing.). Still, this is a Sunday afternoon-Netflix kind of movie at best.

Source: JoBlo.com

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9:17PM on 01/18/2014

Intrigued.

It seems like I'd watch it anyway and give it a chance. While I'm not too familiar with the crew behind the film I'm still down to see another great performance by Hoffman.
It seems like I'd watch it anyway and give it a chance. While I'm not too familiar with the crew behind the film I'm still down to see another great performance by Hoffman.
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1:18PM on 01/18/2014
Huge fan of John Slattery and agree that he has directed some of the best episodes of Mad Men thus far. I have to check this film out despite the average score just to see his transition from the small screen to the big screen.

And I think he should be casted as J Jonah Jamenson in the new Amazing Spider-Man franchise.
Huge fan of John Slattery and agree that he has directed some of the best episodes of Mad Men thus far. I have to check this film out despite the average score just to see his transition from the small screen to the big screen.

And I think he should be casted as J Jonah Jamenson in the new Amazing Spider-Man franchise.
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Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:24PM on 01/18/2014
Man, you're a "Huge Fan" of everyone and everything, including Santa Claus. Also, your grammar is atrocious. Casted??? Try " Cast". I see you make the same mistake over and over again and it drives me bonkers.

He should be cast as the new....so on and so forth.
Man, you're a "Huge Fan" of everyone and everything, including Santa Claus. Also, your grammar is atrocious. Casted??? Try " Cast". I see you make the same mistake over and over again and it drives me bonkers.

He should be cast as the new....so on and so forth.
4:42PM on 01/18/2014
You must be new around here ConMan, otherwise the above comment wouldn't have been surprising.
You must be new around here ConMan, otherwise the above comment wouldn't have been surprising.
10:23AM on 01/19/2014
@ConMan. You're insight in to a fellow Schmo's post is truely rewarding.

Oh, did I have grammar issues too? Fuck off.
@ConMan. You're insight in to a fellow Schmo's post is truely rewarding.

Oh, did I have grammar issues too? Fuck off.
4:58AM on 05/05/2014
you'll come to realise the_soloist talks the biggest pile of shit, has awful taste and is a huge fan of everything that has been slightly popular over the last twenty years!
you'll come to realise the_soloist talks the biggest pile of shit, has awful taste and is a huge fan of everything that has been slightly popular over the last twenty years!
8:14AM on 05/05/2014
Yea on the DVD release columns I often see that he has said he's going to get (and I assume purchase) the new indie film, the new blockbuster film (wether it's ripd or the recent Hercules or the avengers), and then the direct to video action film with use to be great actors. He not only consistently replies to each column, he is consistently first.

How the hell does this kid have time and money to see/buy all these movies? And I like a lot of films, but I often hear him mention
Yea on the DVD release columns I often see that he has said he's going to get (and I assume purchase) the new indie film, the new blockbuster film (wether it's ripd or the recent Hercules or the avengers), and then the direct to video action film with use to be great actors. He not only consistently replies to each column, he is consistently first.

How the hell does this kid have time and money to see/buy all these movies? And I like a lot of films, but I often hear him mention seeing/buying movies that everybody knows not to go near (like the last Hercules - tho I don't know if he specifically said that one).

Above all, more than avengers 3 or Justice league or any of those big films, I just really want to know what he looks like and if it matches my image. I'd prolly even pay money to see it
10:16AM on 05/05/2014
When I first started posting on the site I kind of sided with The_Soloist because it seemed like people were annoyed with him or ragging on him and I wasn't sure why. But more and more I'm seeing the exact same posts from him where he either loves everything or goes along with what everyone else is saying about something and it's just odd, almost like his posts are generated by a robot.

Also if you think John Slattery should be cast as J Jonah Jameson why not give some reasons?
When I first started posting on the site I kind of sided with The_Soloist because it seemed like people were annoyed with him or ragging on him and I wasn't sure why. But more and more I'm seeing the exact same posts from him where he either loves everything or goes along with what everyone else is saying about something and it's just odd, almost like his posts are generated by a robot.

Also if you think John Slattery should be cast as J Jonah Jameson why not give some reasons?
10:24AM on 05/05/2014
lol to this whole thing. gimme a break guys
lol to this whole thing. gimme a break guys
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