Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Adapted from Hubert Selby Jr.'s underground novel, Uli Edel's bleak film is set among the Brooklyn world of the early 1950s, a place populated by prostitutes, junkies and thugs. The episodic tale reins in figures like Tralala (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a hooker who lures her tricks to back alleys where they are mugged by ex-con Vinnie (Peter Dobson); Harry (Stephen Lang), the union boss troubled by his closeted homosexuality; Big Joe (Burt Young), a striking blue-collar worker with a pregnant single daughter (Ricki Lake); and others.
Rating:
R
Genre:
Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Cast

Ricki Lake
as Donna
Stephen Lang
as Harry Black
James Lorinz
as Freddy
Alexis Arquette
as Georgette
Burt Young
as Big Joe
Peter Dobson
as Vinnie
Mike Starr
as Security Guard
Frank Vincent
as Priest
Michael O'Hare
as Riot Police Officer
Rutanya Alda
as Georgette's Mother
Colleen Flynn
as Ruthie
Daniel Beer
as Tral's Trick
Joseph Carberry
as Uptown Bartender
Christopher Curry
as Riot Police Officer
Hubert Selby Jr.
as Hit-Run Driver
Maia Danziger
as Mary Black
Sylvie Spector
as Submarine Annie
Bruce Smolanoff
as Lost Soldier
Bob Martana
as Truck Driver
Ray Gill
as Dowland
Lisa Passero
as Teresa
Hubert Rechy
as Hit-Run Driver
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Critic Reviews for Last Exit to Brooklyn

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (3)

Cinematic style and Jennifer Jason Leigh make this worth watching.

Full Review… | December 29, 2011
Movie Metropolis

For the most part, Edel captures the harrowing grim tone of the book and the compassion the author had for his unsympathetic flawed characters.

Full Review… | September 6, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

German director Eli Edel has fashioned a grim yet coherent and extremely well acted tale out of Hubert Selby's 1964 collection of short stories about misfits, criminals and outsiders in Brooklyn's Red Hook, circa 1952.

Full Review… | November 25, 2010
EmanuelLevy.Com

So bleak a vision as to be obsessive and ultimately shallow.

March 8, 2004
F5 (Wichita, KS)

The pockmarked buildings have a peeling grayness, as if some forgotten battle had been waged there and dulled everything in its wake.

Full Review… | February 7, 2003
Combustible Celluloid

Quote not available.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Last Exit to Brooklyn

½

Although critically revered, Last Exit to Brooklyn is not compelling enough to keep your attention. These are unsympathetic characters that you feel nothing for despite the film's best efforts.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

½

"Last Exit to Brooklyn" starts out with a group of soldiers impugning the honor of Tralala(Jennifer Jason Leigh), followed by the predictable beatdown by some of her friends. To be fair, not only is she a prostitute, but one who also helps to fleece some of her customers. To be honest, times are tough all over in 1952 Brooklyn with the strike going on which probably does not make it the best time for Big Joe(Burt Young) to learn his daughter Donna(Ricki Lake) is pregnant with Tommy's(John Costelloe) baby. Maybe they were just looking for love which is why Georgette(Alexis Arquette) is looking for Vincent(Peter Dobson). As watchable as it is, "Last Exit to Brooklyn" is also very much an odd duck, taking Hubert Selby's novel of down and out Brooklyn life in the 1950's and showing it through a European prism. So, even with an American cast that includes Jerry Orbach and a couple of stunning set pieces, it still feels a little off. On the one hand, the movie desperately wants to be provocative in its use of sex and violence. While it might also seem it is about loss of innocence, it is only in perception, like Big Joe not being aware that his daughter is not a virgin, much less very pregnant. Or maybe this is how it really was, except no police have ever responded to a call that quickly.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

I usually don't approve of comparisons between source material and film, but I can't prevent myself from doing it here. Selby Jr.'s novel presents some of the most violent, depraved images of desperation and hopelessness in literature. The book got under my skin and has stayed there through the years since I read it. The film, although distinctly stylized and directed with precision, fails to deliver the same kind of visceral impact. It is violent, but it is not violent enough. It is bleak, but it never approaches the hellish gloom of the source material. The performances are all impressive, and it is a polished piece of work overall. It just doesn't hit hard enough.

Mike T.
Mike T.

Super Reviewer

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