Gimme The Loot (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner01/05/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 81 mins

Charming and engaging low-budget indie with a witty script, likeable characters, a strong sense of time and place and a pair of terrific performances from its two young leads.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by first-timer Adam Leon, Gimme the Loot is set over two days in present-day New York and stars Tashiana Washington and Ty Hickson as graffiti-bombing teenagers Sofia and Malcolm. When their latest creation is buffed (or defaced) with the Mets logo by a local gang, the pair hatch a plan to tag the big apple sculpture in the Mets baseball stadium out of revenge. However, first they need to score five hundred dollars to bribe a friend of Malcolm's into letting them into the stadium.

The Good
Tashiana Washington and Ty Hickson are both terrific as Sofia and Malcolm and their lively back-and-forth bantering is extremely engaging; as a result, their subtly charged friendship (they are ‘just friends’) is both convincing and moving. There's also strong support from Zoe Lescaze (as Ginnie, a rich white girl Malcolm falls in love with while trying to rob her) and from Meeko as local criminal Champion, who gets into a hilarious strop with Malcolm when his lock-picking skills aren't quite up to the job at hand.

The script is packed with witty, authentic-sounding dialogue, mining genuine laughter from the interactions between the characters, particularly tough-talking Sofia's responses to everyone she meets. Similarly, the story appears thin on the surface, but Leon keeps things unpredictable and interesting throughout; he's particularly good at sharp changes of emotional tack, so that we feel both the characters' tiny triumphs and their crushing disappointments, often with one immediately undercutting the other, e.g. the kids elatedly finishing their graffiti and then a cut to them looking sad the next day when it's been defaced.

The Great
Leon's direction is assured throughout, aided by Jonathan Miller's fly-on-the-wall style cinematography that uses both long takes and a host of authentic New York locations to winning effect. In this way, Leon creates a strong sense of time and place that feels genuinely fresh, recalling the likes of Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing or Peter Sollett's Raising Victor Vargas.

On top of that, there's an excellent soundtrack that opts for classic soul and R&B numbers rather than up-to-the-minute hip-hop stuff, thereby ensuring the film is unlikely to date anytime soon.

Worth seeing?
Gimme the Loot is a well made and hugely enjoyable low-budget New York indie that marks out writer-director Adam Leon as a future talent to watch. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Gimme The Loot (15)
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Content updated: 21/10/2017 05:54

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