Last Exit to Brooklyn opens with a trio of drunken soldiers walking through
Brooklyn on the way to their army base. These aren’t particularly savory characters, but when they pick a fight with a group of local thugs it is easier to relate to the soldiers. As one unfortunate soldier is beaten to a bloody pulp by the gang of thugs, the scene is set for Last Exit to Brooklyn. These are the type of people that inhabit this film, and any intruder is dealt with relentlessly. The country may be at war in this 1950s film, but the characters in Brooklyn have their own war to worry about.
Adapted from the cult-classic best-selling novel by Hubert Selby Jr., Last Exit to Brooklyn takes place during a union strike which has brought violence and terror to
Brooklyn. Money is tight with no work for most of the men, though it allows for unique opportunities for the thugs and criminals. Soldiers are also seen as an outlet for extra income in Brooklyn, especially for thieves and prostitutes. Most women in Last Exit to Brooklyn seem to be prostitutes, even if they don’t say it out loud. The assumption is that money will buy the girl and the prettiest girl gets the guy with money.
It is an ugly world portrayed in director Uli Edel’s cult classic, and Last Exit to
Brooklyn is not a film which I enjoy to watch. The ending is particularly disturbing to me, though Jennifer Jason Leigh’s performance is certainly admirable in its unabashed crassness. The Blu-ray presents a clean version of the film, though it was clearly filmed on a lower budget and this comes through in the presentation. There Blu-ray disc includes a commentary track with Edel, along with a making-of featurette.