Celestino's bid to wrap everything up in tidy fashion feels at odds with the grittiness of the film's first two-thirds, but in the end, the movie's glimpse into a seldom-seen slice of life sticks with you.
[Director] Celestino steers clear of the can't-miss pulp thriller that Yonkers Joe could've been, and goes for broke by giving it big dollop of schmaltz. His horse doesn't come in, but it runs a respectable race.
For all its attention to detail, Yonkers Joe isn't half as tough as it pretends to be. The real story of these bottom-feeders and the sad young man they exploit is a lot uglier than the movie even begins to let on.