Steel City (2007)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

During a mid-western winter, PJ Lee must cope with his recently incarcerated father and the aftermath of his arrest.

Rating: R (for language and brief drug use)
Genre: Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Brian Jun
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 6, 2008
Truly Indie - Official Site


as Carl Lee

as PJ Lee

as Amy Barnes

as Randall Karns

as Marianne Karns

as Lucy Jones

as Michael Karns

as Baby Jenny

as Marcus
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Critic Reviews for Steel City

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (20)

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.

Full Review… | June 28, 2007
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Many traps await novice filmmakers, but writer-director Jun has bypassed most in his absorbing debut.

Full Review… | June 23, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 16, 2007
AV Club
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 15, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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.

June 15, 2007
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 14, 2007
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Steel City

CAST: Tom Guiry, John Heard, Raymond J. Barry, America Ferrera, Kristian Best, Rusty Gray, James R. Hentrich, Heather McComb


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."


Super Reviewer


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.

paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

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.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

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