Title – God’s Pocket (2014)
Director – John Slattery (feature debut)
Cast – Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christina Hendricks, John Turturro, Eddie Marsan, Richard Jenkins, Caleb Landry Jones
Plot – God’s Pocket resident and petty criminal Mickey Scarpato’s (Hoffman) life takes a turn for the worse when his no good step son Leon (Jones) is killed on a job site sending his already crumbling marriage with his wife Jeanie (Hendricks) further into chaos. Not helping matters is his alliance with crime partner Arthur (Turturro) and the appearance of journalist Richard Shellburn (Jenkins).
“What you’ve got to worry about is that everything’s ok, then you’ll get your money”
Review by Eddie on 8/12/2014
An extremely strange hybrid of dark comedy/drama, actor turned director John Slattery’s (from Mad Men fame) film God’s Pocket will likely be forever known only because of it’s featuring of one of screen legend Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last roles as grubby (when wasn’t he grubby?) petty criminal Mickey Scarpato. It’s safe to say that Hoffman is by far and away the best thing about this low key story the squanders a great cast on material not assured of what it is.
God’s Pocket wants to be from the same school of dark comedy that the likes of the Coen Brothers or Spike Jonze do so well but Slattery can’t pinpoint a focus on a film that is filled with too many subplots and bit part players that just don’t get enough to do in the picture. Hoffman’s Mickey is a rounded figure in many aspects (including build) but even his work is only allowed to go so far on a character that needed more exposition. There was potential to make more of his outsider like status in a community that shuns them or more opportunity to interplay between himself and on screen wife Jeanie, in a duo that seems wasted on screen, much like the talents of John Turturro and Richard Jenkins.
It would’ve been great for not only the audience but the film itself to include far more John Turturro as Mickey’s meat stealing crime partner Arthur and even more of the always scene stealing Eddie Marsan as funeral director Jack Moran. Both these character actors provide the film real added energy when they’re on screen, from Turturro’s ventures in his flower shop and Marsan’s drinking on the job in the funeral home, this is what the film needed more of. In concerns to Richard Jenkins it’s sad to say that the usually reliable veteran is endowed with the films worst and most wasteful role as journalist Richard Shellburn, most of his scenes border on downright embarrassing and it’s a role he would soon rather forget.
Somewhere deep inside God’s Pocket is a very good dark comedy movie, it just needed someone to really grab hold of it and pull it out. There is ripe potential for not only a story staged within this particular area of Philadelphia and even the story line produced here had room to really grow into something dramatic, funny and even affecting, yet all is lost in a blurry array of missed chances. Worth seeing for the legacy of Hoffman but don’t take that as much of a selling point.
2 heat packing grandmas in a flower shop out of 5