"GRIND is a small, oddly affecting indie film which escapes its soap opera plotting and ends up an overlooked gem. The story concerns two brothers, the older a stable, married father-to-be, the other a n'er do well just released from prison. Though lovingly taken into the older brother's home, the 'bad' brother just can't seem to escape trouble with desperate characters, not to mention his passionate affair with the brother's confused wife. The movie takes some harrowing turns and is very tasteful with the sexual interludes, allowing some fine character development and a surprising and satisfying conclusion. Indie film vet Adrienne Shelley adds another fine performance to her growing resume of odd films, but the real star is the New York stage actor Billy Crudup (later to be seen in INVENTING THE ABBOTTS and SLEEPERS). With his expressions alternately menacing and innocent and a keen sense of his own power over the camera, this young actor is ready to take off into the stratosphere, not as a patented pretty boy, but as a deeply affecting dramatic talent. GRIND is a fine welcome for him, and for us--keep watching. END"
Strong drama...and so what if it's soap? It's GREAT soap
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 10/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's too bad that certain plots automatically label the films that use them "soap opera". If a man has an affair with his brother's wife, bingo--it's not a drama, it's a soap opera. That's what happens in this film, but does that automatically make it a bad film?
Of course not.
It's not only the excellent acting that makes this a strong film; it's also the sharp, intelligent writing. Without good writing, any play or film can easily and quickly lapse into the type of work that can justifiably give it a "soap" label; here, the term "soap" is pejorative, meaning not so much the type of plot, but the quality of the work itself.
Co-writers Laura Lau and Chris Kentis (the latter also directed) have a perfect ear for the dialogue that characters like this would speak; they're working class New Jerseyites whose suburban homes are their pride and joy. What this really means is that the writers know how their characters respond to events and each other in the way they talk and behave. Without this sensitivity/attunement to the real emotional tenor of its characters, a script will be hogwash that leaves the audience totally unsatisfied.
That's not the case here. Eddie, played by Billy Crudup, tries to move his life forward after a mishap lands him in jail and he's released. He comes to stay with his brother Terry and Terry's wife Janey (Adrienne Shelly) and before long, Eddie and Janey are involved--because Terry's a hardass who needs to prove he can do what he has to do, even if it means getting into illegal stuff. This involvement is his focus; his wife and baby are secondary.
Eddie gets a job at the same factory where his brother and father work, but he's not happy; he needs more in his life. You can feel his restlessness, feel how he thinks having it on with Janey will quell that, then feel how, guess what, it doesn't. He's an intense guy, Eddie, and if he really knew exactly how to get what he wanted--in fact, if he really knew WHAT he wanted--the things that happen here wouldn't have happened.
Does this have a soap opera plot? If we want to use stereotypical American cliched labels, then, yeah, I guess it does. But so what? This is a solid drama and is definitely worth seeing, if not owning.
Okay movie, great performances
Beth | Mesa, AZ United States | 10/05/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The movie's more like 2 and a half but I gave it the benefit of being rounded up. The movie is about a drifter who has an affair with his brother's neglected wife. The plot's been done before but the performances here are great and are what make the movie. Until this movie I had seen two Adrienne Shelly movies, Trust and The Unbelievable Truth. I could tell Adrienne had something but suffered under Hal Hartley's stagey direction. In Grind, she was finally allowed to become the character and show what an actress she could be. Billy Crudup and the the guy who plays Terry as well. They become the characters and I also like fact that the people in this movie are believable, realistic.
Shelly is still in her late thirties and I hope that Hollywood gives her "the role"."
"Grind" Has It All!
Jamigo Speaks | NYC Area USA | 09/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
Billy Crudup hit the floor running in "Grind" (1997), his first feature film, in a tale of a loser who is mesmirized by danger and easily slips into tense, gut-wrenching situations. We see an incredible range of reactions & emotions in the character of Eddie, and a hint of Billy's versitility as an actor.
Crudup is best known for his role as the laid-back rock star in "Almost Famous"(2000). I was recently blown away by his performance as Ned Kynaston, the English Restoration "actress" par-excellance,' in "Stage Beauty" (2004).
Adrienne Shelly was quite captivating as Eddie's "Forbidden Love" interest, and Amanda Peet graces the screen in an early appearance, as Eddie's ex-girlfriend.
The dramatic tension and timing is first-rate in "Grind". This deftly crafted film was the first effort of the husband/wife team of Director Chris Kent and Screenwriter-Producer Laura Lau, who also gave us another edgy and facinating tale in "Open Water" (2003) .
The use of real locations set in Northern N.J., notably in and around the Clifton area, predated the setting later made familiar to us in "The Sopranos". In fact, Soprano affectionados will enjoy seeing the appearance of Frank Vincent, as Eddie's father Nick, in "Grind". Frank is still fresh on our minds as Phil Leotardo, who was seen prominently throughout the entire Season 5 of the Sopranos!
I give "Grind" my own humble gesture of "a solid Upward Fist"!"
A talent actor : Billy Crudop
Dr. Akarawat DOUNGNIL | Bangkok, Thailand | 03/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I knew this Billy Crudop after having seen him in Charlotte Grey. It's remarkable in Julian's role. After that I found his other recent films such as Grind etc. He is perfect and has much talent,with his expressions alternately menacing and innocent. He is a good actor in this period. Grind is not a high budget film but has power in it. About two hours of a deeply affecting drama between two brothers on the screen, I was not disappointed at all. Hope this Billy Crudop would be still requested in Hollywood and let see him in the next film.