As Joey Larabito leaves prison, we glimpse the scars cut into his back: cue flashback to the moment they were inflicted. In the same way, what develops as a subtle low-key character piece eventually descends into an OTT criminal melodrama. Six years in arrears - his wits damaged by a childhood accident - Joey (Roth) arrives home to see his older brother Tommy (Russo). His knock is answered by a dishwater blonde, Lorraine, a sister-in-law he knew nothing about (Unger). She's reluctant to let a murderer stay, but Joey's quiet manner wins her over, and he becomes a useful ally as her husband digs himself ever deeper into debt. Roth negotiates the tricky business of mental deficiency with unsentimental deliberation. Unger - so cool and distant in Crash - emerges as a fine actress, shading from suspicion of Joey to trust with real emotional delicacy, going the opposite route with Russo, and hinting at a suburban fatigue that's eating away at her insides. Writer/director Giovinazzo gives us an authentic whiff of the sunny, slummy streets of Staten Island, but undercuts the good work which has gone before with an ill-judged bloody denouement.
Cast and crew
Deborah Kara Unger