|GIMME THE LOOT (director/writer: Adam Leon; cinematographer: Jonathan Miller;; editor: Morgan Faust; music: Nicholas Britell; cast: Tashiana Washington (Sofia), Ty Hickson (Malcolm), Meeko (Champion), Zoë Lescaze (Ginnie), Sam Soghor (Lenny), Adam Metzger (Donnie); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Lindsay Burdge/Sean Nitollano; Sundance Selects; 2012)|
gets this slight episodic film to first base is
the likability shown by the non-professional leads."
by Dennis Schwartz
low-budget indie debut feature of Adam Leon won the
grand jury prize at SXSW. It makes heroes of two
adorable Bronx teenage graffiti artists, as the
energetic inconsequential coming of age comedy is both
easy and hard to resist.
1980s, a pair of graffiti artists were on a
local-access cable show boasting of “bombing the
apple”-- that is spray painting their signature tags
on the Mets' Big Apple that pops up from the outfield
scoreboard in Shea Stadium whenever a Mets player hits
a home run. Their effort failed. It's now 20 years
later and the Mets still have the Big Apple, but have
moved in 2009 into a new Queens' ballpark called Citi
teens, the swag-filled Malcolm (Ty Hickson) and the
tough-talking Sofia (Tashiana Washington), are Bronx
street graffiti artists wishing to make a name for
themselves by tagging the Mets'
current Big Apple, a feat never before accomplished.
This need is fueled by their feud with a Queens
rival group of punky taggers called the
Woodside King Crew, who sabotaged their latest work
after they tagged a wall space previously used by them
to tag Mets logos .
free-wheeling breezy flick that follows Sofia and “Shakes”
(Malcolm's handle), as we watch them comically plan
for their ridiculous feat by collecting paint supplies
and needing $500 to bribe a Mets employee to let them
in after hours. They resort to acts of shoplifting and
selling weed to raise the cash, which challenges the
viewer's empathy for such petty criminals even more.
The action occurs over two sweltering hot summer days, and the innocent taggers (reminding one of youths from a past era, rather the more thuggish street youths of today) find themselves ripped off in all their attempts to hustle their way to underground fame. The pic hits its pinnacle when they encounter the well-bred white stoner chick Ginnie (Zoë Lescaze), someone the black Shakes flirts with at her pad only to find she steals his hi-tops.
What gets this slight episodic film to first base is the likability shown by the non-professional leads, who make this amusing caper film into a modern-day Huckleberry Finn story. Can't say I totally agreed with the unconditional love shown by the young filmmaker to all the bad-ass characters popping up in this street smart flick, but it had its charm and a true indie flavoring and is a good start for a promising young filmmaker. Leon said he was most influenced by Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin and Ray Ashley’s 1953 film Little Fugitive, one of my favorite neo-realistic city life films.
REVIEWED ON 11/21/2013 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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