Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Red Hook Black

This slice of Brooklyn “realism” is a triple threat: badly written, directed and acted.

Dec 7, 2011

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1297438-Red_Hook_Black_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

We’re in Brooklyn, but far from the Brooklyn currently being deemed the hipster epicenter of the universe, much to the chagrin of formerly smug Manhattanites. No, this is gritty Red Hook, where people struggle to eke out a living, like blue-collar Marco (Kyle Fields), who’s out of work and saddled with a multiple sclerosis-stricken wife, Elizabeth (Victoria Negril), whom he no longer loves. Things get complicated when her niece, Olivia (Danielle Lozeau), enters their lives, a nubile young thing who has already given up a baby for adoption. She and Marco eye each other across Elizabeth’s unknowing carcass, and guess what happens?

Red Hook Black was originally a play (by José Landivar), and, boy, does it show! For all of the various settings and set-ups director Luis Landivar—obviously a relation—has chosen to frame it with, he might just as well have filmed a stage performance, so static is the result. The writing is, frankly, abysmal, and is not helped by actors who largely verge on the edge of inept.

Fields, with the slightly cross-eyed handsomeness and approximate histrionic ability of a male model, and requisite sculpted torso, may well give the year’s worst, stiffest performance, although any actor might be defeated by lines like “You’re a pirate and you’re pushing me off the plank!” which he addresses to poor, eternally suffering Elizabeth. Negril is so determinedly pathetic, she makes Shelley Winters in A Place in the Sun look like a winner in every way. Faced with total sexual rebuff from her husband—“I’m tired, it’s hard work looking for a job!”—she nonetheless asks, “Can I just look at you? Tomorrow with the MS, I could be dead.” Quel turn-on.

“Look at me: I just got laid off from work and I’m sleeping with my niece!” Marco whines, but Lozeau, as clueless as her shallow little slut of a character, doesn’t offer much of a respite from his dreary marriage. Landivar stages these excruciating dialogue scenes with near-laughable awkwardness, his camera boring in far too close to the hapless actors. There’s also a subplot featuring Marco’s recently divorced buddy, Damian (James Jackson), who has recently embarked on his own new romance, and his drug-dealing brother (Keith Walker), but that holds even less interest than the main domestic inferno, and is just as badly conceived and acted.


Film Review: Red Hook Black

This slice of Brooklyn “realism” is a triple threat: badly written, directed and acted.

Dec 7, 2011

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1297438-Red_Hook_Black_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

We’re in Brooklyn, but far from the Brooklyn currently being deemed the hipster epicenter of the universe, much to the chagrin of formerly smug Manhattanites. No, this is gritty Red Hook, where people struggle to eke out a living, like blue-collar Marco (Kyle Fields), who’s out of work and saddled with a multiple sclerosis-stricken wife, Elizabeth (Victoria Negril), whom he no longer loves. Things get complicated when her niece, Olivia (Danielle Lozeau), enters their lives, a nubile young thing who has already given up a baby for adoption. She and Marco eye each other across Elizabeth’s unknowing carcass, and guess what happens?

Red Hook Black was originally a play (by José Landivar), and, boy, does it show! For all of the various settings and set-ups director Luis Landivar—obviously a relation—has chosen to frame it with, he might just as well have filmed a stage performance, so static is the result. The writing is, frankly, abysmal, and is not helped by actors who largely verge on the edge of inept.

Fields, with the slightly cross-eyed handsomeness and approximate histrionic ability of a male model, and requisite sculpted torso, may well give the year’s worst, stiffest performance, although any actor might be defeated by lines like “You’re a pirate and you’re pushing me off the plank!” which he addresses to poor, eternally suffering Elizabeth. Negril is so determinedly pathetic, she makes Shelley Winters in A Place in the Sun look like a winner in every way. Faced with total sexual rebuff from her husband—“I’m tired, it’s hard work looking for a job!”—she nonetheless asks, “Can I just look at you? Tomorrow with the MS, I could be dead.” Quel turn-on.

“Look at me: I just got laid off from work and I’m sleeping with my niece!” Marco whines, but Lozeau, as clueless as her shallow little slut of a character, doesn’t offer much of a respite from his dreary marriage. Landivar stages these excruciating dialogue scenes with near-laughable awkwardness, his camera boring in far too close to the hapless actors. There’s also a subplot featuring Marco’s recently divorced buddy, Damian (James Jackson), who has recently embarked on his own new romance, and his drug-dealing brother (Keith Walker), but that holds even less interest than the main domestic inferno, and is just as badly conceived and acted.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Bicycling with Moliere
Film Review: Bicycling with Moliere

This sly, witty, charming comedic contemporary study of a fraught friendship between two actors hoping to mount a Molière classic is also a ride through France’s beautiful Ile de Ré island. More »

Locke
Film Review: Locke

Taut, disturbing and unique drama about a man racing toward his destiny, providing Tom Hardy, literally, with a vehicle to flaunt his acting chops. More »

Small Time
Film Review: Small Time

You might not buy a used car from the guys in Small Time, but you will enjoy the movie about their exploits, even their exploitations (of others). More »

Fading Gigolo
Film Review: Fading Gigolo

Some top screen talent gets lost in the silliness surrounding the amorous adventures of an unlikely gigolo and his even more unlikely pimp, with writer/director/actor John Turturro the shtupper “ho” co-starring with Woody Allen as the mercenary shtup-enabler. Yarmulkes off to Turturro’s brave but deeply ill-conceived comedic foray into Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic community and other alien territory. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Transcendence
Film Review: Transcendence

Johnny Depp is an idealistic researcher whose consciousness is uploaded into an artificial intelligence in this slick techno-thriller with delusions of seriousness from Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer. More »

Draft Day
Film Review: Draft Day

Pro football manager faces crises on the most important day of his career in a well-tooled vehicle for Kevin Costner. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here