Movie Review: 'Gimme the Loot' -- 3.5 stars
Gimme the Loot
Directed by Adam Leon
Starring Ty Hickson, Tashiana Washington
The New York City slice-of-life is an endangered mode of filmmaking, a victim of the rising costs and increasing challenges in telling local stories that aren't big-studio Manhattan fantasies.
A film like "Gimme the Loot" is a welcome aberration, a tiny flick about Bronx graffiti artists (Ty Hickson and Tashiana Washington) who dream of tagging the holy grail of New York targets: the Mets' Home Run Apple. The crisscross the city, hustling to raise the $500 it'll cost to get them into Citi Field.
Writer-director Adam Leon has crafted a classic New York story, a film imbued with the fast rhythms and muggy sensations of city life during the summer, which he captures in long takes that give his scenes space to take shape and develop.
It's all here: Walks down crowded streets packed with storefronts; pick-up basketball in the park; an impromptu beat box session; characters who mock the Mets and complain about the summertime smells; the way the rooftops are a universe onto themselves.
Hickson's Malcolm and Washington's Sophia are teens pretending to be people they aren't, as teens are wont to do. He sells pot and hangs up when his mom tries to call. She puts up a tough façade. They plot the robbery of a rich Greenwich Village woman.
Above all, these are complicated people on a journey of self-discovery that unfolds as such real-life journeys do: Quietly, subtly, without warning. They're dreamers shaped by the urban environment and possessed by the elemental human drive to leave their mark on the world.
And Leon's movie, which builds toward an unexpectedly emotional climax, is a reminder of just how cinematic New York can be.