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Palookaville
Palookaville
Actors: William Forsythe, Vincent Gallo, Adam Trese, Gareth Williams, Lisa Gay Hamilton
Director: Alan Taylor
Genres: Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
R     2003     1hr 32min

Arresting humor meets criminal comedy in this quirky romp about three wonderfully witless cons in search of a crime. Starring William Forsythe, Vincent Gallo, Adam Trese and Frances McDormand, Palookaville is an irresisti...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: William Forsythe, Vincent Gallo, Adam Trese, Gareth Williams, Lisa Gay Hamilton
Director: Alan Taylor
Creators: John Thomas, David Leonard, Lindsay Law, Scott Ferguson, Uberto Pasolini, David Epstein
Genres: Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/01/2003
Original Release Date: 10/25/1996
Theatrical Release Date: 10/25/1996
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 32min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Spanish, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

Indie classic written all over it
hybridpress | 12/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Inspired by the short stories of neorealist Italian writer Italo Calvino, whose fiction chronicles the personal and economic struggle of post-war Italy, Palookaville is a modern story that portrays the elusive American dream.Director Alan Taylor explains: "(The characters) are chasing after this hopeful, crazy notion of pulling off one big heist. They are light years away from having any sort of political self-awareness. All they know is that they woke up and the American dream was ignoring them. It doesn't occur to them to think that something is wrong with the system." The backdrop of Palookaville is a working class Jersey City neighborhood, and the noisy desperation of the film's three main characters contribute to the film a sweet melancholy, lacking the requisite violence of big Hollywood crime flicks.The story begins with Russ (Vincent Gallo), Sid (William Forsythe), and Jerry (Adam Trese), three life-long friends whose economic troubles lead to half-baked plans of robbing an armored truck. Their first attempt, a jewelry store, fails, and they instead make off with an armload of pastries from the adjacent bakery and the meager loot from the register. Their expectations are modest; it's not a life of crime their commiting to, but simply "a momentary shift in lifestyles." Taylor remarks on a poignant scene where Russell (Vincent Gallo), at the crucial moment of the big heist, hesitates and doesn't pull the trigger: "We live in a time when we expect the most cynical response. If you really put someone like you or someone you know in that situation, there's a wide range of reactions. It's not always going to be the cheapest, most violent, most immediate." When asked about other films that use economic desperation as their premise, Taylor says, "A lot of the Hollywood movies we see are responses to desperation and fear, economic uncertainty and political uncertainty. Most of them confront that fear by going: Pow! Pow! Pow!"The characters are hopelessly human, unintentionally comic, and between the three, haven't an ounce of malice. Taylor says of his characters: "Their aspiration is to just do one thing so they can get back into the American dream. And that's all they're thinking about. It hasn't gotten to the point where they're thinking, 'Well, wait a second, should we be more critical of the whole idea?' They're not at that stage."With a subtle, quirky score by Rachel Portman and inventive cinematography by John Thomas, Palookaville does not suggest its modest $1 million budget. The clear, brilliant vision of director Alan Taylor and writer David Epstein, together with a talented cast (including Frances McDormand as a sympathetic prostitute), Palookaville is a must-see for all independent film enthusiasts."
Top notch crime comedy
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 05/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Although there's a tip of the hat in the end credits to Italian writer Italo Calvino, the entire first sequence of this great crime comedy was inspired by Mario Monicelli's 1958 film, Big Deal on Madonna Street (also the basis for another recent crime comedy, Welcome to Collinville, as well as the first part of Woody Allen's Small Time Crooks).This is without question one of Vincent Gallo's best films; the director, Alan Taylor, along with writer David Epstein, manages to bring out the actor's smug half-know-it-all dopey cynicism that can't help but provoke chuckles, if not outright guffawing. William Forsythe is also really well cast as the great planner of the burglary trio--a loner whose girlfriend left him ten years earlier and who now finds solace in two dogs he lives with but never bathes. Adam Trese, the married one of the group, has a baby to feed as well as a loving wife whose boss is a bit too friendly. Frances McDormand is here in a relatively small part and does a good job, but it's really the threesome who make and move the film.After a botched opening heist (a great sequence; the take-off on the Big Deal material here is perfect), the trio set about to rob an armored truck. Unfortunately, Gallo's brother-in-law is a big half-dumb cop who knows Gallo is up to no good so tails him whenever he can. None of the three guys is anything approaching well off--all of them need money pretty badly, in fact. The poignancy this need evokes blended with the ingredients of desperation and not-really-thought-through planning is so gracefully done, so finely executed, it would be hard to find a better recent crime comedy. Welcome to Collinville is a worthy runner-up, but Palookaville takes the cake (check out the opening scene to see this idiom actually occur--literally!)Highly recommended."
LOVABLE LOSERS
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 09/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A knobby but charming take on criminal wannabes, not the blood-ridden "Reservoir Dogs" variety but the kind who smear black Cherry polish on plastic Mattel guns from the corner store in hopes to pull off a bank robbery.

Which ends up as an occasionally drifty but generally charming caper, strewn with quirky half laughs and bittersweet observations about realities of modern life. Some isolated scenes fail to work, but overall Palookaville zooms along to a surprisingly chipper ending.

The DVD has some interesting interviews, esp when the director speaks of his inspirations (Italo Calvino of all people!) and the point behind the title (which harks back to Marlon Brando of yore).

A rewarding rental."
Overlooked and very good slacker crime movie
Jessica Lux | Rosamond, CA | 12/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Despite the slow pacing, this cast of slacker wannabe criminals delivers a comic romp of an attempt at an armored car robbery. Gallo's character truly makes the movie, with his expostulations at his crime team. He pontificates on proper criminal behavior and how to get ahead in life (while failing miserably on his own). Gallo plays a lighter, if still strange, character than he does in Buffalo '66, which is also highly recommended."