Little Odessa (1995)
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as Joshua Shapira
as Reuben Shapira
as Alla Shustervich
as Irina Shapira
as Arkady Shapira
as Boris Volkoff
as Grandma Tsilya
as Man with one leg
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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.
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.
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.
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