A runaway seeks refuge with her aunt and uncle in Baltimore and finds their marriage ending and her cousin in crisis. In the days that follow, the family struggles to let go of the past while searching for new things to hold onto.
Keith (Lombardi), a small-time drug dealer under house arrest at the home of his father (Belushi) in Baltimore, re-enters a community scarred by unemployment, neglect and deeply entrenched ... See full summary »
Marnie just graduated from college, drinks likes she's still in school, and is looking for a temporary job but a permanent boyfriend. She loves a guy who doesn't love her (?), ping-pongs ... See full summary »
Alan is a musician who leaves a busted-up band for New York, and a new musical voyage. He tries to stay focused and fends off all manner of distractions, including the attraction to his good friend's girlfriend.
An alienated girl struggles to piece together the events of the previous night over 24 hours in NYC, only to be reminded that nothing is ever as it seems in a city where everyone is a self-made avatar, and violence looms like a halo.
Damien Wayne Echols,
The boy's name is Alex, but in the world of gamers where he spends most of his time, he is known as Koss. The enormous amount of time he spends at the computer screen starts to pay off: in ... See full summary »
A love triangle featuring the trophy girlfriend of a petty drug lord, caught up in a web of luxury and violence in a modern dark gangster tale set in the beautiful port city of Bodrum on the Turkish Riviera.
Victoria Carmen Sonne,
I'll skip any in depth discussion of formal excellence -- real critics like Roger Ebert and Richard Brody have already said much about that -- and just say that almost every shot, every element of the film is fantastic. Porterfield has a great instinct for composition, for length of shots, for what to focus on and what to leave off the screen. He introduces a few unique elements, including a lot of lingering shots away from prevalent dialogue. The visual style alone is reason to see the film.
But it's not the most important reason. Putty Hill accomplishes something very, very exciting on the level of the heart. In a brief Q&A after the film screened, Porterfield was asked about his decision to shoot the neighborhood and people he did, rather than any of the "shine" that the city of Baltimore has. Porterfield answered that it was part of where he came from, and that he saw it as an ethical responsibility to represent the working class in a moderate, non- sensational light. Much more than something like The Wire (or, say, Winter's Bone, another contemporary film with a similar focus on devastated, poor working class America), Putty Hill does not exploit poor, mostly "white trash" (as one British writer called them) characters, does not sensationalize or wring out their dire situations in hopes of creating great drama. The film is stark and realistic, but the treatment of characters is sympathetic. This is not a film that tries to shock the viewer with a saturation of hyperrealistic details about "what life is like on the other side" of the poverty line: it's not all drugs and violence and grime. Instead, Putty Hill is a film that shows a group of people living their lives just as they know how to. Sure, some things are dark, some things are gritty, some things are sad... but on the other hand these are people, like anybody, with great capacity for love and understanding.
Putty Hill is the greatest current example I have seen of art treating the lives of the working class with both realism and respect. It's not coddling, it's not political, it's not a shock piece. The camera rolls, and what we see is Life, with all of its imperfections, problems, and beauties intact.
When this accomplishment of subject is combined with stunning formal elements, what results is one of the most exciting, important films I've seen in years.
11 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this