Little Odessa (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Little Odessa (1995)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A somber portrait of organized crime and family trauma, Little Odessa centers on the trouble caused when hit man Joshua Shapira (Tim Roth) returns to his old neighborhood of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. A hired killer for the Russian Mafia, Joshua is given an assignment in his hometown, where he renews contact with his younger brother Reuben (Edward Furlong) and an old flame (Moira Kelly). But others do not welcome Joshua's return, particularly his harsh, estranged father (Maximillian Schell), who had disowned Joshua years before and currently attempts to keep him from visiting his seriously ill mother (Vanessa Redgrave). The pressure of these family crises combine with Joshua's deepening involvement in the local crime scene, ultimately triggering a bloody confrontation. First-time director James Gray creates a solemn, oppressive atmosphere that emphasizes the already grim nature of his story. The slow pace and familiar crime narrative were attacked by many viewers, contributing to a mixed critical reaction, but Little Odessa nevertheless won admiration for Gray's visual sense and the skilled performance by Roth in the unsympathetic lead role.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: James Gray
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 16, 1999
Live Home Video


Tim Roth
as Joshua Shapira
Edward Furlong
as Reuben Shapira
Moira Kelly
as Alla Shustervich
Vanessa Redgrave
as Irina Shapira
Maximilian Schell
as Arkady Shapira
Paul Guilfoyle
as Boris Volkoff
Mina Bern
as Grandma Tsilya
David Ross
as Anatoly
Ron Brice
as Man with one leg
Jace Kent
as Mechanic
Gene Ruffini
as Janitor
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Little Odessa

Critic Reviews for Little Odessa

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (12)

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 19, 1995
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 27, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Little Odessa


With an unrelatable psychopath at its center and only the performances to commend, especially from Tim Roth and Maximilian Schell, this is a failed combination of family drama and crime thriller that falls flat as either, seeming pointless and empty in its poor attempt at saying something.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer


Billed as another Goodfellas, Little Odessa is the story of a mafia hitman returning home to do a job, as well as seeing the poor immigrant family he left behind. The story is great, the movie is not. Tim Roth is fantastic as the disowned, disgraced, murderous son. Roth always gives a very strong performance and does so again here. Edward Furlong, one of my favorites, unfortunately does not do as well. I've seen him in enough things to know, it's not his fault, it's the writing. This film is so dark and painfully slow that I barely made it through. Very little is explained and the dialogue is laughable, even at times non-existent. There are huge plot holes to go along with an ending that makes little sense. The writer was trying to tell his story more through imagery and symbolism in a genre that is based on action. You can't pull off something like this without explaining more of the story and using it to move things along. It's not the worst film I've ever seen, but to be honest, I was bored from start to finish.

Todd Smith

Super Reviewer


Never quite reaching its' full potential, Little Odessa still stands as a testament as to the underrated abilities of Tim Roth, while also offering a dark, more realistic look into the mob world than most films.

Jeffrey Meyers
Jeffrey Meyers

Super Reviewer

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