Deuces Wild

Deuces Wild

2.0 out of 52.0 out of 52.0 out of 52.0 out of 5 2.0

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More nostalgic than realistic, Deuces Wild paints an unimaginative portrait of macho bullshit. The story feels overly familiar: two rival gangs battle for turf in their six-block neighborhood in 1950s Brooklyn. It’s a place where the word “fuck” is de riguer and everyone is a caricature from some other film or television show about pin-up gangsters. The film opens dramatically with Leon (Stephen Dorff) carrying the corpse of his brother, a sinister drug dealer Marco keeping watch over the proceedings and conveniently cueing the film’s central conflict. One gets the impression that these old-school roughnecks fight just to pass the time and prove their masculinity. The film flashes forward three years, complete with Good Fellas-style narration. Bobby (Brad Renfro), Leon’s hothead younger brother, is introduced while kicking a deaf boy’s ass. As played by Renfro, Leon isn’t so much a mean son-of-a-bitch as he is one stupid Guido. Enter Annie, The “Ice Cube” of the neighborhood, whose legs are apparently locked at the knees. The otherwise predictable Deuces Wild gets interesting with the kind of goth-fire zingers (“I crawled out between my mother’s legs”) only Frairuza Balk can spit out. Technically speaking, Deuces Wild is a marvel to look at: the appropriately grainy, hot-red tint courtesy of the great John A. Alonzo; the killer costumes and production design; and pretty boys whose mugs are never glamorized. Director Scott Kalvert’s otherwise restrained style becomes obtrusive via flashy edits and distracting slow motion, which takes away from the gritty realism the film seems to be vying for. The cast from The Sopranos also distracts though Deborah Harry wonderfully raises the film’s oddball factor as a mother addicted to Christmas carols. Too bad the performances alone won’t make you care about what happens in this machismo concrete jungle, better visited in films like The Last Exit to Brooklyn.

96 min
Scott Kalvert
Christopher Gambale, Paul Kimatian
Stephen Dorff, Brad Renfro, Fairuza Balk, Norman Reedus, Frankie Muniz, Vincent Pastore, James Franco, Johnny Knoxville, Deborah Harry