Explicit Ills (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

Explicit Ills (2009)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Though its politics can be heavy-handed at times, Mark Webber's directorial debut is sincere and well-acted.

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Movie Info

The beauty of hope and the power of unity form the foundation of this tale of youthful love, drugs, and poverty in the City of Brotherly Love. Seven-year-old Babo suffers from asthma, and lives with his mother in a dangerous section of North Philly. In an attempt to impress a girl who's well out of his league, their scheming neighbor Demitri attempts to pass as a brainy bookworm. Meanwhile, as well-off art student Michelle falls into a drug-ridden affair with her dealer, Jacob, Kaleef and Jill struggle to save their marriage while bringing "produce to the people," and their teenage son, Heslin, bulks up for the World's Strongest Man competition. Rosario Dawson, Naomie Harris, and Paul Dano star. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
  • Rating:
    R (for language and some drug use)
  • Genre:
  • Directed By:
  • Written By:
  • In Theaters:
     wide
  • On DVD:
  • Runtime:
  • Studio:
    Peach Arch Entertainment

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Cast

Rosario Dawson
as Babo's Mom
Paul Dano
as Rocco
Frankie Shaw
as Michelle
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News & Interviews for Explicit Ills

Critic Reviews for Explicit Ills

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (11)

A movie that too often feels comprised of arty public service announcements can only be considered a lost opportunity.

Full Review… | March 20, 2009
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Despite a good cast, Explicit Ills is about as phony as it gets.

Full Review… | March 6, 2009
New York Post
Top Critic

Gorgeous to look at and touchingly sincere, Mark Webber's directorial debut makes a considerable impact despite its evident flaws.

Full Review… | March 6, 2009
New York Daily News
Top Critic

There is much to argue with, and much to regret, about a film whose director thinks he needs to drop an anvil on our heads when art would suffice.

March 6, 2009
New York Times
Top Critic

The film's cast and the fluid camerawork are as hip as can be, and in this age of Obama, so is the sentiment -- unflinching but optimistic.

March 4, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

Two of the cast members shine: Lou Taylor Pucci as a drug dealer who finds a new lover and baptizes himself in substance abuse, and Rosario Dawson as a mother trying to care for her asthmatic son with no health insurance.

Full Review… | March 4, 2009
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Explicit Ills

I don't really like giving one star votes but there was nothing fresh about this story and it couldn't hold my attention. I'm a fan of Rosario Dawson and she's why I watched it but she was only part of a vignette so it just wasn't enough to save it. I watched most of it but didn't finish it, unless there was some sort of amazing ending (which I doubt) this one was just boring to me...kind of on the same lines as those cigarette commercials that went on for a while as a public safety announcement that show mortality in a way that's not really effective.

Kristi Moore
Kristi Moore

I don't really like giving one star votes but there was nothing fresh about this story and it couldn't hold my attention. I'm a fan of Rosario Dawson and she's why I watched it but she was only part of a vignette so it just wasn't enough to save it. I watched most of it but didn't finish it, unless there was some sort of amazing ending (which I doubt) this one was just boring to me...kind of on the same lines as those cigarette commercials that went on for a while as a public safety announcement that show mortality in a way that's not really effective.

Kristi Moore
Kristi Moore
½

For Fans Of: Weaving story lines, Rosario Dawson, Paul Dano Date Night: Nope Art Factor: Medium Fun Factor: None Emotional Factor: Low Intelligence Required: Low Essential Viewing: No The Plot: Four stories of various poor people in the same poor area weave about. My Take: Multiple story lines are usually really fun for me. Babel, Crash, 21 Grams, etc., I find them a fun change of pace from the usual formula. But after watching Explicit Ills I am reminded of what can go wrong. Before we get to the wrong let me hit the few bright spots. First time director Mark Webber was not bad behind the lens at all. Many of his shots were interesting takes where most would have settled for the usual. He also used some nice transitions that were both creative and sudden. The ensemble cast was wonderful, with Dano and Dawson being the only two established players in the cast. Both Dano and Dawson shown bright, but we just weren't given enough time to see just how bright. Which leads me to... What went wrong. The multiple story lines are very loosely tied together. In fact, I really never gave a shit that they were. It just never felt necessary to see the big picture because the small ones all felt so damned rushed. That rush speed is this film's problem in a nutshell and a great lesson to film students everywhere. Do not sacrifice intimate moments of a film because you are trying to squeeze in too many intimate moments. Let your actors breathe into scenes and stay with them for a bit. Dont make a film where you want me to care if your not going to give me a chance to find out what I should be caring about...

Michael Clark
Michael Clark

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