BROOKLYN RULES (2007)
Starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Alec Baldwin, Scott Caan, Mena Suvari, Jerry Ferrara, Monica Keena, Robert Tarano, Christian Maelen, Paolo Araujo, Ty Thomas Reed and Daniel Tay.
Screenplay by Terrence Winter.
Directed by Michael Corrente.
Distributed by City Lights Pictures. 99 minutes. Rated R.
The mob has a certain romantic allure, especially in depressed urban neighborhoods where it mostly holds sway. Particularly for the lower-income tough kids, these guys have money, power, women and status.
Brooklyn Rules is interesting because it is immersed in Mafia culture and yet is not really about the lifestyle so much as trying to avoid it. Two of the three best friends in this coming-of-age drama — set in Bensonhurst in the mid-80s during the mob wars and rise of John Gotti — are desperately concerned with keeping off the radar of the local mob boss (Alec Baldwin).
Instead, this sensitive story — penned by regular Sopranos writer Terence Winter — takes a hard look at the ups and downs of the crime life and some alternative routes out of the hood.
Three boys have grown up immersed in it and are each making different choices for their salvation. Michael (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) is trying education, becoming a student in Columbia and starting to date a preppy Connecticut rich girl (Mena Suvari). Bobby (Jerry Ferrara — aka Turtle in Entourage) is trying to find his way through religion, marriage, movie trivia and hopefully a cushy government job.
Only Carmine (Scott Caan in a powerful performance reminiscent of his father James’ work) is seduced by the wiseguy culture, hanging with the made men and trying to become one.
As life in the area inevitably pushes the three deeper and deeper into the world that most of them are trying to avoid, their lives are touched by violence, anger and recrimination.
Whether or not people can break free of the rules of their environment is the real theme of Brooklyn Rules. It also shows how three friends can take totally different life directions and yet still share everything. Brooklyn Rules has a few very violent moments, but for the most part it is more about the heart and the mind rather than the fist — making it much more subtle and strangely satisfying than most films about organized crime. (5/07)
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 12, 2007.