Plot: What’s it about?
God’s Pocket is one of the final film performances of Philip Seymour Hoffman. He gives a solid performance here, but I think the film is ultimately forgettable and won’t make much of an impression on many audience members. After his step son, Leon, is killed at a construction site, all of the other workers back each other up and tell the police it was nothing more than a freak accident. The killed that was killed was Leon. He constantly picked on the other workers and acted like a buffoon. Basically, he was a loser and nobody cared what happened to him. Hoffman plays Micky, he steals meat then resells it. He’s not exactly an honorable man himself, but after his wife suspects there’s more to her son’s death than she’s being told, she asks Micky to find out what really happened to him. This would’ve been more than acceptable as the basic plot of the film, but there are several other smaller story-arcs here that simply go nowhere. John Turturro has a small supporting role as an old friend of Micky’s who gets into a bit of trouble himself, but he’s mostly pushed to the side. There’s also a story involving a reporter played by Richard Jenkins who has a drinking problem, and it assigned to write a story involving the young boy’s murder. The film is short at under 90 minutes, but moves at a leisurely pace. There’s a shocking scene involving the boss at the construction site being questioned by some neighborhood men about the kid’s murder and it results in a man getting his eyeball gouged out. Gross stuff, but even that angle seems to go nowhere. If the film maintained that level of intensity it might’ve been more effective.
Outside of the strong performances, I find very little about God’s Pocket worth recommending. The story has some interesting elements, but the film takes such a pedestrian approach to its storytelling that it becomes hard to care about much going on here. I wish it were more about Leon’s murder being investigated and the consequences of those covering up, but it just meanders until it eventually peters out. It has some interesting things going on, but they don’t add up to much. I’d only recommend it to those who are eager to see one of Hoffman’s last performances. Outside of that? I wouldn’t waste my time here. There are far better movies centering around small neighborhoods and the mob element has been done much better than what’s seen here. I felt unclean after viewing the film. The characters aren’t particularly likeable nor are they that interesting to begin with.
Video: How’s it look?
While not an especially attractive film, the transfer still looks quite nice. Obviously, this isn’t meant to be a demo-disc, but the print is clean and free of flaws and details remained consistently strong throughout. Don’t expect a very bright transfer since the film is set in a mostly muggy, not very attractive setting. There are a few graphic moments where blood is shed and it’s appropriately rendered here. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.40:1 ratio. It will satisfy fans of the film.
Audio: How’s it sound?
We get a DTS HD track that’s appropriate for a film like this. Vocals are clean and audible, but the rears are mostly inactive. They do kick in from time to time, but this is a quieter film with the dialogue taking center stage. I see no issues with this track as it serves the film as it should. The violent scenes do pack a punch as well. We can hear plenty of background chatter during a few sequences set in a bar. Things are evenly distributed.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – The Director/Co-Writer/Producer John Slattery provides a solo commentary track here. For some reason this track isn’t under the special features page, it’s under the set-up menu. I find that strange, but it’s here nonetheless.
- Deleted Scenes – These don’t even total 3 minutes and are mostly forgettable and don’t add much of anything.