Virgil Bliss (2001)

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The feature-film debut of sound technician-turned-writer/director Joe Maggio, Virgil Bliss is a naturalistic drama along the same lines as the works of Mike Leigh or John Cassavetes. Released from a nearly ten-year prison sentence, Virgil Bliss (Clint Jordan) just wants to lead a normal life and have a family. At a halfway house, he meets and befriends Manny Alvarez (Anthony Gorman), who offers him some help getting adjusted to life on the outside. Virgil then meets and falls in love with Ruby (Kirsten Russell), a junkie who yearns to reunite with her four-year-old son. After getting a straight job, Virgil moves in with Ruby and they start to build a life together. Their situation gets complicated when Manny shows up in a violent rage. Virgil Bliss was shown at the 2001 Slamdance Film Festival and was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards.

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Critic Reviews for Virgil Bliss

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (4)

An overly familiar scenario is made fresh by an intelligent screenplay and gripping performances in this low-budget, video-shot, debut indie effort.

Jul 10, 2002

Too bad Maggio couldn't come up with a better script.

Jun 13, 2002 | Rating: 2.5/4

Shot largely in small rooms, the film has a gentle, unforced intimacy that never becomes claustrophobic.

Jun 12, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/5

Stale, futile scenario.

Jun 11, 2002

Raw independent drama with great naturalistic performances.

Nov 7, 2005 | Rating: 4/5

Proof that a newcomer indie filmmaker can infuse some new life into the Downtrodden Loser Character Study.

Jun 9, 2003 | Rating: 82/100

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