Gimme The Loot Reviews
"Gimme the Loot" is a funny, vibrant and fresh caper comedy. As this was probably filmed on a limited budget, first time writer-director Adam Leon makes the most of it by showing quite the talent for composing shots. That especially extends to depicting fast-paced New York City where even the largest dreams are possible(although maybe not a large soda in the near future) but don't try to lose sight of what is closest to you. That's true even in a divided city, just not evenly so, as there is some mix between the classes, especially on the subway, Sophia and Malcolm's favorite mode of transportation. And with all of the corporate graffiti we have to deal with every day, what's wrong with a little personal expression? Just don't mind the petty larceny, and enjoy the rocking cool soundtrack.
"Gimme the Loot" is Spike Lee meets "Exit Through the Gift Shop". You don't have to know -- or even care -- jack about street art for "Loot" to hit a chord. Even the deaf would be head over heels for the physical energy of the lead performances by Tashiana Washington and Ty Hickson, two actors that marriage the spontaneity and sophistication of body motion and words to get at the heart of New York City's fight moves of rush, noise and swagger. They play graffiti artists out to tag the Mets' Home Run Apple to spite a rival crew that paint over their work. "Gimme the Loot" is cinema that feels in-the-moment and alive. Don't make the mistake of looking to it for any larger point, because blink and you'll miss appreciating it as a great movie, gritty and real without ever seeming bleak, because it flat-out no question is.
As for plot, well, it's two tough nights in the lives of Malcolm (Ty Hickson) and Sofia (Tashiana Washington), two teen graffiti artists on a most unusual and daring quest. In the 1980's, wannabe Banksys would storm something called the apple, meaning they would paint their own marks on the giant apple that rose up at Shea Stadium whenever the Mets hit a home run. Only things is, in order to do it now they m ust raise $500 to bribe a guard for access at Citi Field, home to the Mets since 2009. Like the best of indie filmmakers, these kids will do just about anything to achieve their goals.
And that's the films: two kids wielding spray paint cans looking to build their cred. Cops, gangs and a rival crew of graffiti artists from Queens are beside the point. Leon isn't interested in what brings down defiant spirits he's interested in what triumph of those defiant spirits look like. His film is a celebration. There are setbacks but they never get that much in the way.
And Hickson and Washington are outstanding, their amateur talent only gives the sense that what we're seeing is real. Malcolm is looking to bed Ginnie (Zoe Lescaze, excellent), the rich white girl who buys his weed. Their scenes are rich with layers of class differences and status, including the racial kind. Washington is just as great, finding the soft spots in Sofia's emotional armor, but still makes her a force to be reckoned with. Leon makes these bonds palpable. His is a bright future in film and I can't wait to see more.
Adam Leon received a Gotham Award nomination for "Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director" in 2013.
The film also won Best Director at the Sofia Film Festival and Best Feature at the Molodist Film Festival, with lead actor Ty Hickson receiving a Special Jury Mention