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Sundance '14: Philip Seymour Hoffman's GOD'S POCKET

Movie Review Sundance 2014 by Joey Paur

God's Pocket is one of the better films that I've seen at Sundance this year. I still have a long way to go, but I've already seen more crap than good films. Needless to say, it was nice to sit through a movie that I didn't want to fall asleep in. 

The film has an incredible cast that includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christina Hendricks, John Turturro, RIchard Jenkins, and a few other actors you may or may not recognize. First and foremost, the acting in this movie was fantastic. They all gave great performances, and in my opinion it's one of the best roles that Hoffman has played in a long time. As for Hendricks, she's great, and I'm hoping to see her get more lead movie roles. The woman has talent. 

Hoffman plays Mickey Scarpato, who is a resident of a tight-knit neighborhood called God's Pocket. His dipstick stepson Leon is murdered at work, which the other workers cover up. Mickey is tasked with taking care of all arrangements for the funeral, and at the same time his wife, played by Hendricks, knows that something is wrong and wants him to get her some real answers. Things end up getting crazy with all of it, though, and Mickey "finds himself stuck in a life-and-death struggle compounded by a body he can't bury, a wife he can't please, and a debt he can't pay."

The story was really solid and engaging, and the writing and dialogue were fantastically witty. It has a lot of humor, and that was nice because the movie deals with some pretty heavy subject matter. The director, John Slattery, does an incredible job taking the audience though the world in which the story is set, and it has just the right amount of humor mixed in with the intense drama. He even manages to bring out the humor during some of those dramatic intense sequences. Slattery, who stars in the TV series Mad Men, is a talented writer and director, and I think he could have a solid career ahead of him doing just that.

The movie isn't for everyone, I could see some people thinking that it's slow and dull. I've heard that from a few people talking about it around the festival. I thought the pacing of it was fine. You just have to like this kind of movie. I just want to point out again that it really is very funny. It's just a dry sense of humor that some people just might not find funny. Except for the part where an old lady pulls out a gun and blows a couple of thugs away. That was amazing! There are a few surprises like that throughout the film. 

I'm pretty confident that God's Pocket will at least get a limited theatrical and VOD release. It's not a film that needs to be seen on the big screen, but if you're a fan of anything that I mentioned in the review, then it's a movie you should check out.

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