By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – [ratings] I’m no Brooklynite or any sort of New Yorker for that matter, but about ten minutes into Gimme the Loot, I recognized these characters. I grew up in a neighborhood with a healthy contingent of the same kind of low-grade hustler as the protagonists, and I’ll tell you it wasn’t always fun. Gimme the Loot follows Sofia (Tashiana Washington) and Malcolm (Ty Hickson), two young graffiti artists determined to climb the Mount Everest of tagging- spray painting their mark on the New York Met’s Big Apple- a sculpture that emerges every time a Met hits a homer.
Tacky, yes, but it can’t touch this
Over the course of one day, they try everything from petty pot dealing to grand larceny to get together the funds they need to pull this off. A Toast The film opens with an exhilarating petty heist of spray paint followed by a vintage video laying out the film’s Big Apple McGuffin. Both of these sequences, while damned interesting, distract you from the film’s raison d’etre- delivering a photorealistic portrait of a day in the lives of two charismatic young New Yorkers from the wrong side of the tracks. Gime the Loot easily delivers just that in a style reminiscent of the master of the genre, Rahmin Bahrani. Just like that obvious influence, Director Adam Leon uses a cast of primarily non-professional actors, and the authentic, unpretentious performances he coaxes out of them, particularly the two leads, are hard to tear your eyes away from. The plot that envelopes and showcases the acting and setting is suitably simple. In short, everything is hustle, all day, every day. And in a world where everything is a means towards short-term end after short-term end and the level of respect for personal property is a Marxist’s wet dream, it’s all easy come, easy go. Watching these characters struggle to put together just a few bucks in a world where a bike turns into a cell phone which turns into a handful of air and ineffectual curses is heartbreaking, but the resilience and resourcefulness they show in the face of it can’t help but be a bit inspiring.
Think Bicycle Thieves, without any of the moral dilemmas
Beer Two I don’t care what the fuck the money’s for, I can personally attest that coming home to a forced lock and all of your clothes strewn across the floor from strangers rifling through your drawers blows. There’s nothing fucking comical about that at all. So, Gimme the Loot’s one serious misstep is setting up a robbery of a bitchy, entitled rich white girl straight out of Girls with a hearty dose of justification, then playing the whole thing off as a comical interlude, complete with fitting score. It’s the one thing that rings untrue about the film, the one moment where authenticity is put in service of the plot, rather than vice-versa.
Even if they do have it coming
Verdict Sure, some crackhead stole these characters’ moral compass a long time ago, but you can’t help becoming absorbed in their trials and tribulations, and even finding the beauty in their world. Drinking Game Take a Drink: every time a crime is committed of any caliber Take a Drink: whenever something is tagged Take a Drink: whenever someone talks shit about the Mets Do a Shot: whenever someone talks shit about the Yankees