Little Odessa

A highly charged, coolly assured directorial bow graced by riveting work from a trio of accomplished lead actors, Little Odessa immediately etches a film place on the map for 25-year-old New York newcomer James Gray. This is a sombrely explosive family tragedy, set against the brooding backdrop of the Mafia-plagued Russian-Jewish emigre community in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach.
Unlike Reservoir Dogs, Reality Bites and any number of Scorsese-spun U.S independent brethren that stalk parellel crime beats, Gray’s mob opera eschews a canvas of aggressively drawn violence and hip dialogue construction to focus more itently on character. The impact of its devastating denouement is consequently of a quieter though no less visceral nature.
Contracted to erase an Iranian jeweller, Brooklyn-bred hit man Joshua Shapira (Tim Roth) returns reluctantly to the childhood neighbourhood he abandoned years earlier to avoid Mafia score-settling from a previous job. Despite having no contract with his family, word of his arrival reaches his kid brother. Reuben (Edward Furlong), who eagerly tracks him down. On learning that his mother (Vanessa Redgrave) is slowly dying from a brain tumour, Joshua goes to see her, provoking a violent reaction from his rancorous father (Maximilian Schell).
Joshua uses knowledge of his father’s long-standing affair to force his way back into the family. While he plans for the hit, he almost indifferently rekindles something approaching

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