God's Pocket (2014) - Rotten Tomatoes

God's Pocket (2014)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Well-cast but frustratingly clichéd, God's Pocket fails to strike a sensible balance between comedy and drama.

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Movie Info

In the gritty, blue-collar neighborhood of God's Pocket, Mickey Scarpato's crazy stepson, Leon, is killed in a construction "accident," and Mickey quickly tries to bury the bad news with the body. But when a local columnist comes sniffing around for the truth, things go from bad to worse. Mickey finds himself stuck in a life-and-death struggle compounded by a body he can't bury, a wife he can't please, and a debt he can't pay. Acclaimed actor John Slattery makes an impressive jump behind the camera with an assured directorial debut that shows he has a razor-sharp eye for conveying the absurdity, cruelty, desperation, and tragic optimism of the people he portrays. Like life, his scenes seamlessly fuse humor and heartbreak, but it's Slattery's wit and confident style that make the portrait so authentic. Featuring a top-shelf cast and impeccable cinematography, God's Pocket oozes with talent and marks the emergence of an inspired directorial presence.(C) IFC Films

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Cast

Philip Seymour Hoffman
as Mickey Scarpato
Richard Jenkins
as Richard Shellburn
Christina Hendricks
as Jeanie Scarpato
Eddie Marsan
as Smilin' Jack Moran
John Turturro
as Arthur "Bird" Capezio
Glenn Fleshler
as Coleman Peets
Caleb Landry Jones
as Leon Hubbard
Peter Gerety
as McKenna
Arthur French
as Lucien 'Old Lucy' Edwards
Joyce Van Patten
as Aunt Sophie
Jack A. O'Connell
as Mole Ferrell
Eddie McGee
as Petey Kearns
Joe Reiver
as Driver
Dave Powers
as Worker 1
Morgan Auld
as Worker 2
Luis Bordoy
as Man in Car
Matthew Lawler
as Officer Arbuckle
Daniel Mastrogiorgio
as Officer Eisenhower
Christopher McCann
as Brookie Sutherland
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News & Interviews for God's Pocket

Critic Reviews for God's Pocket

All Critics (92) | Top Critics (31)

A dud.

May 22, 2014 | Full Review…
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Turns out accents and attitude only go so far.

May 16, 2014 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
Detroit News
Top Critic

A messy, shallow, muddled morass of a Philadelphia crime story set in 1978 ...

May 16, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

What's left is an awkward blend of tragedy and comedy, in a movie that doesn't feel as if it has earned the right to be either.

May 15, 2014 | Rating: 2/4
Seattle Times
Top Critic

A fair amount of the film leaves you wondering about the categorizations it's courted as a dark comedy. If the tag legitimately applies, then it takes Slattery a while to find his footing, if he ever really does.

May 15, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

What began as an intriguing snapshot begins to feel grotesque and inscrutable.

May 15, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for God's Pocket

½

â??I donâ??t know why writing down what everybody knows, is any better than knowing it in the first placeâ?? Along with A Most Wanted Man, Godâ??s Pocket was sadly one of only two remaining lead performances from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman â?? after his untimely death in 2014 to a heroine overdose. For this alone, itâ??s worth reminding yourself what a great talent this man was and how the medium of film will forever miss his astonishing onscreen presence. If truth be told, itâ??s not a role that requires him to do very much and the film itself continually switches tones but like many other movies featuring this fantastic actor, it benefits from his commitment and his everyman naturalism. After a mysterious construction â??accidentâ??, where his step-son Leon (Caleb Landry Jones) is killed, street hustler Mickey Scarpato (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is urged by the boys mother (Christina Hendricks) to find out what actually happened and to give the boy a decent burial. Mickey tries his best to investigate with the help of his friend Bird (John Turturro) but things go from bad to worse when Mickey gambles the funeral money and is left with a body he canâ??t bury and a debt he canâ??t pay as a local columnist (Richard Jenkins) begins to expose the events. A sombre, lowbrow mood piece thatâ??s very much character driven and has an authentic feel for itâ??s titular working class, Philadelphia neighbourhood, Godâ??s Pocket. Itâ??s inhabitants are seemingly stuck in their turgid, everyday lives where in order to make ends meet, they are forced into one scam or another. There are few redeeming characters in this tiny corner of the world but debutant director John Slattery (Roger Sterling from TVâ??s Mad Men) gives us an inside, almost fly-on-the-wall, look at how these blue collar crooks operate. The subject matter is certainly grim and cinematographer Lance Acord paints a suitably bleak picture. However, despite the stark nature, before you know it the film shifts from being a character drama to a very black comedy and itâ??s here that Slatteryâ??s inexperience in calling the shots comes to the fore. Considering that the film starts so seriously, a sudden burst of humour comes as a real surprise and it takes a while to adjust. Once you accept that this, though, the black comedic moments become better timed. Itâ??s certainly tonally uneven and you get the sense that Slattery is a little out of his depth in balancing it all but he does manage to deliver many excellent scenes, has a fantastic eye for detail and draws out superb performances from his entire cast. This bodes well for the the directorial future of John Slattery but itâ??s just a damn shame that we wonâ??t see much more from Hoffman. Not that Iâ??m the religious type but if I was, Iâ??d like to think that Hoffman has found centre stage in the pocket of God and itâ??s a pocket I wouldnâ??t hesitate to pick to bring him back to us. In such a short time, he proved to be one of the screen greats. Mark Walker

Mark Walker
Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

What aspires to be an insightful dark comedy drama actually turns in to a 90 minute misery ride in God's Pocket, a film's whose depressing nature is never earned nor fully appreciated, left adrift by a narrative that never strikes the balance between drama and comedy. Set in a blue-collar neighborhood, named God's Pocket, we follow a Mickey Scarpato, who spends his time between low-level high-jacking and gambling. An unfortunate 'accident' of his step son soon finds things spiraling out of control for Mickey. Mad Men star John Slattery's directorial debut is one that seeks to be authentic, and to strike the delicate balance between creating a bleak atmospheric tone and an offbeat humor that keeps the audiences appreciation. What happens instead is that the film never establishes itself apart from the bleakness. We are continually told how dreary and dark the neighborhood is, and we see the complacency, the dullness of its inhabitants, yet we never grow with the characters. It's never particularly funny, and the film doesn't seem to offer any real insights. What we do get feels clichéd and familiar, with no real distinction. For its part, the cast has a solid showing. Being one of the last roles of Philip Seymour Hoffman, he is doubtless perfect for his role, as a gruff, yet sensible man in a tough world. The supporting cast is strong as well, yet their efforts do not make up for a script that doesn't inject any humanity, uniqueness, or humor in its subject. 2/5 Stars

Jeffrey Meyers
Jeffrey Meyers

Super Reviewer

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