God's Pocket

2014 comedic drama

Rating: 14/20

Plot: A guy with a meat truck tries to hold things together after the mysterious death of his step-son, an asshole.

This was Philip Seymour Hoffman's final completed movie, and the movie starts with a Hoffman sex scene. If nobody remembers anything else about Philip Seymour Hoffman, they should remember that the guy knew how to film an impressive sex scene. His work here is truly inspiring, and I found myself banging my wife with a little extra gusto the night after I watched God's Pocket.

This movie, John Slattery's feature debut, is a bit of a mess at times, meandering way more than something that takes place over just a few days has a right to do. I'm also not sure he ever nails a tone, kind of wavering between this sort of desperation-laden drama and something close to dark comedy. It wants to be quirky, and it wants to be dark, and I'm not sure Slattery ever really successfully mixes the two as well as the Coen brothers do. You question the motives of a lot of these characters. At the same time, the questionable motives succeed in making this a little more realistic. After all, don't you spend a lot of time questioning the motives of people you actually know? The characters inhabiting this story are the kind of bumbling tough caricatures you're likely to only see in a movie, but the themes still connect.

Good performances help things. Hoffman is very subdued, giving almost a wearied performance. It fits the character though because the character barely gets a chance to rest in this thing, dealing with burden after burden that you can tell--at least while watching an actor like Hoffman--wears him down. John Turturro plays that sort of shifty, greasy character you never completely want to believe in because you recognize him as John Turturro. The improbably gorgeous Christina Hendricks plays Hoffman's wife, something that almost seems like a gag itself, and the great Richard Jenkins is in there as a drinker with a newspaper columnist problem. The rest of the cast colors this corner of humanity called God's Pocket.

You're not going to be completely satisfied with how everything's wrapped up here, but that's probably part of the point. You're going to have to deal with that.

I ended up liking this movie a lot more than I thought I would, probably because it was recommended a long time ago by somebody I no longer trust.

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