Steel City (2007)
During a mid-western winter, PJ Lee must cope with his recently incarcerated father and the aftermath of his arrest.
as Carl Lee
as PJ Lee
as PJ Lee
as Amy Barnes
as Ben Lee
as Randall Karns
as Marianne Karns
as Lucy Jones
as Vic Lee
as Michael Karns
as Maria Lee
as Baby Jenny
as Maria Lee
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Critic Reviews for Steel City
Steel City is gritty, blue-collar and surprisingly dry-eyed. If it hadn't been a movie, it could have been a song off Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska album.
Many traps await novice filmmakers, but writer-director Jun has bypassed most in his absorbing debut.
Writer-director Brian Jun makes it clear that Steel City isn't about big events, even crucial inciting ones. It's about day-to-day decisions and how they change and inform relationships.
Steel City is a moving look at fathers and sons. [Director] Jun neither romanticizes nor pathologizes blue-collar family life. In this earnest rust belt indie, doing the right thing means tipping the scale of justice.
The phrase 'small, personal film' can sound like an alibi for a trivial and self-indulgent vanity project, but Brian Jun's well-crafted Steel City embodies the highest promise of the term.
For big chunks in the middle of the movie, Steel City seems lost and styleless, but it builds a cumulative power as we get closer to learning what's up.
Steel City is one of the most hopeful movies I've seen recently -- not just for its humane, realistic story line (about a small-town family in crisis), but in its very being.
While the territory of Steel City is as well-worn as the roads of this tiny town, the people and performances are interesting enough to warrant the detour.
Steel City may be the only movie released this year that's so observant you can hear what the characters aren't saying.
The stilted dialogue, relying too heavily on speeches, robs the film of believability -- which disappears completely with its happy ending.
It's not always a success, but the ensemble actors are fine at fleshing out purposely underwritten roles.
In writer and director Brian Jun's film, the story isn't set up so neatly, and, at first, the ambiguity builds tension.
Brian Jun makes a strong feature debut with a blue-collar drama rooted in character and community and focused on the everyday over the dramatic flare-ups...
Excellent performances by a good cast and a fairly authentic look at working-class struggles go only so far in Brian Jun's Steel City, which paints an industrial Minnesota municipality entirely in tones of gray and blue.
[Director Jun pounds] out a suitably gritty atmosphere, and there's real chemistry between Ferrera and the excellent, quietly expressive Guiry. He's an actor still looking for his big break; this is a fine time to discover him before everyone else does.
Mostly Mr. Jun's script is sharp, and Laurie Metcalf, James McDaniel, America Ferrera and Raymond J. Barry in supporting roles help keep the tale mesmerizing, in a small-scale sort of way.
Steel City could have used more rhythmic drive, but if [Brian] Jun keeps weaving together characters this compelling, he could be a major film artist in the making.
Audience Reviews for Steel City
CAST: Tom Guiry, John Heard, Raymond J. Barry, America Ferrera, Kristian Best, Rusty Gray, James R. Hentrich, Heather McComb
DIRECTED BY: Brian Jun
SUMMARY: When PJ Lee's (Tom Guiry) father is arrested for vehicular manslaughter, it's just the icing on the cake for a teen whose life is already difficult, thanks to a broken home and dysfunctional relationships. In short order, PJ gets fired, has a falling out with his girlfriend and is kicked out of the family home.
MY THOUGHTS: "This movie had some good acting in it, but the story was a bit slow. The issues they all are dealing with is sad, and the acting is there, it's just the story takes awhile to get going. When it starts theres cops, ambulances, and a crash scene. But it never gives all the details of what happend. But I guess it may not have needed to. If you just sit back and let the movie be and not think about the story and where its going, its watchable. But in the end the acting is the only thing good that came out of this. But I still liked it. Still worth seeing."
Here's a film that appears to be about nothing, and yet is about everything. Like a good jazz solo, it's not about what you hear(or see), it's what you don't hear.
A little slice of midwest life that's far deepeer than it appears on the surface, akin to an indie version of Mystic River as it plays off the relationships between fathers and sons, and brother and brother.
The women are almost an afterthought, and yet here again we see that America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves, Ugly Betty) is indeed a gifted actress and, when not wearing those hideous braces, fake eyebrows and mismatched clothes that are required on TV, quite beautiful.
The acting overall is quite good, and yet there are times when it seems that the actors are hemmed in by the dialogue, even though the dialogue is direct and real (especially in the case of Uncle Vic).
When the fim comes full circle, and you can see the sins of the father weighing on the sons, and yet the bond between brothers, even though they disagree with one another, it's a powerful statement of humankinds' yearning to belong to something, lest we become leaves in the wind, living without purpose or hope.
Bleak, sad story about a kid who loses his job, his home, and his father in short order. America Ferrera has never looked better. Just wish she had more scenes as she was the one bright spot in the entire film. Hard to grow up when everything around you is falling apart. PJ somehow manages to turn out alright, although he will carry a load of guilt until his dying day. The scenery only enhanced the bleakness of the script. Well done, if a bit slow occasionally. Stay with it. There is a hint of redemption at the end.More
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