Actors: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christina Hendricks
Director: John Slattery
Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Number of discs: 1
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
DVD Release Date: September 9, 2014
Run Time: 89 minutes
It is easy to imagine how this adaptation of Pete Dexter’s novel might have been made into a dark comedy under the guidance of more experienced filmmakers, such as the Coen brothers, but actor turned first-time director John Slattery (“Mad Men”) presents the story in a way that hits the same bleak notes from start to finish. Regardless of how captivating the veteran cast may be, it becomes difficult to imagine the reasons for forcing the characters to endure such hardship, or the meaning that the audience is meant to take away from the experience. As enjoyable as individual sequences may be, the overall result of God’s Pocket feels more trouble than its worth.
Taking place in the gritty, blue-collar neighborhood of God’s Pocket, PA, two men who are forever deemed outsiders attempt to navigate their way through a degradingly depressing existence. Mickey Scarpato leads a two-bit criminal existence, accepting amongst the locals to a degree because of his marriage to a resident (Christina Hendricks), while a local columnist, alcoholic and minor celebrity Richard Shellburn (Richard Jenkins) makes God’s Pocket his latest topic of choice. Both lead somewhat parasitic existences, which are brought together by an ‘incident’ at a construction site which results in the death of Mickey’s step-son, Leon (Caleb Landry Jones).
The film is mostly a series of unfortunate events, a majority of which seem to occur only to Mickey. Despite his nefarious attitude towards the law and moral decency, Mickey doesn’t seem to be reaping any rewards. Instead, he struggles to find the means to bury
after a number of questionable decisions with his partner and friend, Arthur
(John Turturro). From stolen beef to misplaced bets, Mickey makes all of the wrong
decisions even when attempting to make things better. Meanwhile, Richard
pathetically uses the opportunities from the incident to benefit his writing
career and his sex life. Leon
The DVD special features include a commentary track with Slattery, who bit off more than he could chew with the role of director, producer and co-writer. There are also deleted scenes and a trailer gallery.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 6/10