Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Gimme the Loot' Mines Class, Race and Friendship

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Gimme the Loot' Mines Class, Race and Friendship

Article excerpt

I see so many independent movies that sometimes, when an indie movie comes along that really is independent that is to say, when it offers up a fresh new way of seeing I blink twice.

Writer-director Adam Leons feature debut, Gimme the Loot, which takes place in the Bronx over two hot summer days, is just such a film. It had good buzz at Cannes last year, and its been making the festival circuit to rightful acclaim. From the sound of it, it might be mistaken for yet another micro-budget gabfest about self- absorbed teenagers.

Sofia (Tashiana Washington) and Malcolm (Ty Hickson) are bickering buddies and fellow graffiti guerrillas. They want to one- up a rival gang of taggers by decorating (or defacing, depending on your point of view) the giant Home Run Apple that pops up at the New York Mets Citi Field whenever the home team knocks one out. To do this, they need to scrounge $500 to bribe their way inside the stadium (hence the films title).

It soon becomes clear that their quest for cash, which takes the form of cadging money at illicit bodegas and selling marijuana, is getting them nowhere fast. Its also clear that, for Leon, its the quest and not the payoff that matters. Sofia and Malcolm are avid but hopelessly inept con artists.

The movie is not about scoring and tagging; its about the romantic connection between Sofia and Malcolm. Its a character movie, not a caper movie. The duos connection is romantic without being carnal. Although its obvious that Malcolm is enamored of Sofia, he cant quite let on to her (or himself) about it. The attraction on his part is obvious: Sofia is pretty and sharp and sassy. He, on the other hand, is so gangly and cooled-out that their collusion seems almost contrapuntal. Shes staccato; hes legato.

Washington (shes a model, singer, and dancer) moves gracefully and speaks with a quicksilver cunning. Her agitated befuddlement with Malcolm and his haywire schemes is inherently funny. She cant quite believe what shes hearing sometimes. And no wonder. Malcolm is a weird conflation of savvy and dopey.Alas, its the dopiness that most often comes into play. …

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