With Stephen Lang, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Burt Young, Peter Dobson, Jerry Orbach, Ricki Lake, Stephen Baldwin, Alexis Arquette, Sam Rockwell

Written by Desmond Nakano (based on the book by Hubert Selby Jr.)
Directed by Uli Edel

Uli Edel has never shunned away from movies with heavy subjects (like Christiane F.), and in this 1989 production the intensity is as gritty as ever.
Based on the controversial but acclaimed book by Hubert Selby, Jr., it is set in the run down New York borough of Brooklyn during the '50s, and the lives of several characters in this economically challenged area. There is a strike at one of the larger factories in the area employing a large chunk of the inhabitants, and many soldiers go through the area being shipped off to the Korean War. Some of these real life characters from Selby's past include young thugs, a gay man, a prostitute, a young kid infatuated with her, soldiers, a man in charge of the strike office and a range of peripheral lowlifes and regular folks stuck in this miserable situation like a family whose daughter falls pregnant.
But in stead of a mere narration of misery, the movie-makers and actors reach into the viewers, pulling compassion from them for these lost souls, who are victims of their circumstance, the times, economy and also bad choices.
At the time of the movie's theatrical release I wrote a piece on the comparison of the book and its translation to cinema for an English assignment at University – not having a permanent computer at the time, I unfortunately don't have the hard copy any longer.

(Some shocking scenes may upset certain viewers)

Extra features on this re-release: a behind the scenes look at the making of the movie shot at the time of its making.

6 / B
- Paul Blom

0 1 2 3 4 5 6
- A - B - C

Click below for another tough movie on a Hubert Selby Jr. tale, Requiem For A Dream

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never let a review decide for you, but for those who need a rating, see the Flamedrop scale below
6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A: Multi-Viewing Potential

B: Could Enjoy A 2nd Look

C: Once Should Suffice

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