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Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Turturro in 'God's Pocket' (image courtesy of IFC Films)

Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Turturro in ‘God’s Pocket’ (image courtesy of IFC Films)

For his directorial debut, John Slattery (Mad Men) chose to adapt a seamy crime novel by Pete Dexter, stock it with a couple Academy Awards’ worth of talent—Richard Jenkins, John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his three posthumous roles to hit theaters this year—and then play the whole thing as a kind of cosmic gag. It very nearly works.

God’s Pocket is playing now in limited release. My review is at Film Journal International:

The title comes from the neighborhood where all the action is set. It’s a scabrous, Southie kind of place where the bars are packed, the walls are covered in wood paneling, the air is thick with cigarette smoke and barely controlled rage, the mood black, and the faces white. As the beautiful wounded bird at the center of all the story’s ugliness, Slattery’s “Mad Men” co-star Christina Hendricks plays Jeanie Scarpato. She’s the blinded-by-love mother to Leon (Caleb Landry Jones), a drugged-out, scrubby kid who doesn’t make it too far into the film. He’s so busy at his job one day ranting and raving and spitting racial slurs that when his sole black co-worker clocks him with a lead pipe, it’s a complete surprise…

You can see the trailer here:

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