Slight but well written and well acted
In New Jersey three friends are out of work and out of prospects for
improvement. Their first attempt at crime fails when they break into a
bakery they mistake for the back of a jewellers shop. Russell's brother in
law is a cop who knows that he is up to no good, however Russell still wants
the trio to do one reasonable job to help them onto their feet. The next
step is the robbery of an armoured car. However, are they bad at being bad
or just to good to be bad.
There have been quite a few films that make comedy of inept criminals,
however this film is more than that. Rather than being figures of fun,
these are good people without much hope who resort to crime in rather
amateur way, for example to help plan their job they hire a 1950's crime
thriller called `Armoured Car Robbery' from the video store. There are no
pratfalls or physical humour but instead gentle stuff that is
The title comes from the line in On The Waterfront in which Marlon Brando
bemoans his failure as a fighter as a `one-way ticket to Palookaville' or
being a loser. The three men of the title are losers, but they are good,
likeable people in difficult situations. Happily the film allows us into
their lives so that they are not just `inept criminals' caricatures. The
dialogue is involving but also snappy and witty. The strong cast help this
enormously. Gallo is really good in the lead and the actual moment when he
realises that he may be in a tough spot but he is not a bad person is really
quite touching. Forsythe is good and wears his sensitive side well on his
sleeve. Trese has the most difficult character the danger would be he
becomes the `drama' side of the film, but he handles it well with good
support from his on-screen wife Hamilton. The support cast of family and
lovers all are really believable characters, although the film really
belongs to the lead three.
Overall I suspect many will find this slight and not as funny as they
expected. However I found it a well written (sharp yet real dialogue) with
respect for it's characters finding humour in their situations and
approach rather than making them comedy characters. Add this to some well
pitched performances and it makes for a film that does what it sets out to
do and does it better than many of it's ilk..
WHEN YOU'RE NOT REALLY IN THE MOOD FOR A COMEDY', BUT THEN AGAIN YOU WOULDN'T MIND LAUGHING LIKE HELL.
This is the 2nd film I've seen Vincent Gallo (the other one was `Buffalo
which was decent) act in, and I have to say this guy picks perfect roles.
You forget the guy is acting, and that's the mark of a craftsman. He ends
up in my favorite scene of the movie where his neighbor playfully starts a
last call strip-tease after he returns home one night. Gallo this time
plays Russell, who along with his buddies, do their best to bounce off the
outer rim of social responsibility by tackling the next level of
semi-professional burglary. Russell should have learnt long ago that you
need to lock the bedroom door or something s****y is bound to happen. The
performances are compelling and the writing is convincing. Above all, it's
very funny film. There are some good lines and unforgettable scenes (the
moments at the dinner table come to mind). So yeah, you end up laughing
than you expected but the movie `Palookaville' actually does what it's
supposed to do; it moves you. You care about what happens to these guys
because they are learning more about themselves than you expect them to.
a result you don't really want this one to end early. Remember if you ever
see a legally blind person trying to board a bus with not one but two guide
dogs, the small one's in training..