Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Tashiana Washington, Ty Hickson, Zo Lescaze, Joshua Rivera
Written by: Adam Leon
Directed by: Adam Leon
MPAA Rating: NR
Language:
Running Time: 81
Date: 05/04/2013
IMDB

Gimme the Loot (2012)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Apple Bombing

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

New York writer/director Adam Leon makes a most impressive independent debut with Gimme the Loot. Though it's a realistic movie about the African-American experience in New York City, it's also devoid of preaching, documentary realism, shaky-cam, hip-hop music, or downbeat hopelessness. Instead it's a great deal of fun, emotionally touching, and even surprisingly old-fashioned.

When one of their artworks is defaced, Bronx graffiti artists Sofia (Tashiana Washington) and Malcolm (Ty Hickson) decide to take on a bigger canvas: the Mets home run apple. Malcolm knows a guy that can get them inside the ballpark, but he requires $500 bribe money, which Malcolm and Sofia must raise over the course of a long day. Sophia thinks she can sell some spray paint cans, but winds up losing her bike. Meanwhile, Malcolm, who deals pot on the side, finds a new opportunity: one of his customers is a rich white girl (Zoe Lescaze) with an easily accessible jewelry case. Can Malcolm and Sophia reach their goal, or will New York City wear them down?

It's interesting that Leon doesn't soft-pedal his characters. They may have good hearts, but they most certainly have criminal tendencies: graffiti, stealing, selling of stolen goods, dealing drugs, etc. Likewise, the rest of the characters are nicely complex, despite their brief amounts of screen time. As Malcolm's fickle, upper-crust customer, Zoe Lescaze offers an interesting mix of wisdom and cruelty in her character. In the bigger picture, Leon also makes great characters out of New York City's less-known neighborhoods.

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