Little Odessa

Little OdessaBBB.5

(out of 5)

Deeply felt gangster drama chronicles the destruction of an entire family thanks to one member’s life in organized crime. A Russian Jewish family in Brooklyn are dominated by a quietly powerful father (), who has written off his thug son () and is looking to push his younger boy () to achieve all that he can. Adding heartache to their family life is the imminent death of the boys’ mother () who is suffering from a brain tumor. When Roth comes home for the first time in years, his brother bonds with him in an effort to reclaim their childhood relationship, but the results are disastrous. James Gray makes a mini-Godfather film where the action isn’t glorious or stylish and the moral repercussions of the character’s actions aren’t tied up in false notions of familial solidarity or honour. Instead, there is a sense of tragedy that permeates just about every scene and hangs with perpetual gloom over the character’s heads. It’s not what I’d call a pleasant experience because of how intentionally grim it is, but it has plenty of rewards.

Fine Line Features, Live Entertainment, New Line Cinema

USA, 1994

Directed by James Gray

Screenplay by James Gray

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by 

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Actors Index:  Vanessa RedgraveTim RothMaximilian Schell



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