This is my entry into my own blogathon, a brief summary of PSH’s performance in God’s Pocket, as well as a link to a late entry by Dell at dellonmovies
This was the last completed film by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. It isn’t glitzy or glamorous, in fact its the opposite of those things. With washed out colours and a look of the 70’s, this film is a perfect example of the variety of films that Hoffman was willing to work on; almost the polar opposite to something like the Hunger Games franchise.
You could say that not much happens in this film, though the thin plot was more than enough for this viewer. There isn’t much action, and additionally the film is hard to pinpoint regarding genre. It serves mainly as a summary of a close-knit community, and the experiences of a man who has seemingly worked hard to fit in. However, if i were to label it anything it’d be a subtle black comedy, as there are some classic lines within the dark plot, perhaps the best one being a story about a horse who couldn’t finish a race because she was sucking in air, “y’know, vaginally”. This and other amusing lines are almost always uttered in a deadpan fashion, and it lightens up a pretty bleak film. It is not a film for everyone, which would probably explain the mixed reaction it received.
Hoffman plays a run-down looking Mickey, who has managed to become a part of the close-knit community that is ‘God’s Pocket’, where working class people live out their lives in a simple yet happy way. They don’t have much tolerance for those not from the area, but they have accepted Mickey, who has married a woman local to the area. He once again truly inhabits his character here, a man who has worked to become accepted within the working class people of God’s Pocket. Hoffman plays this role perfectly, as Mickey is never 100% comfortable around the people he comes across and this is apparent in how Hoffman plays the character. His subtle performance is typical of his work; excellent yet restrained, and it fits the dark tone of the film perfectly.
The son of the woman he married – Jeanie – is killed at the workplace very early into the film, but the tight-nit community refuses to tell the story of what really happened. No one misses Leon except for his mother, and Mickey is forced to juggle both his wife on one hand, who thinks there is more to it than what the police are saying, and on the other he is struggling financially as he takes it upon himself to organise and pay for the funeral. To say it doesn’t go to plan would be an understatement, providing fodder for more laughs, if you are the sort of twisted person that I am.
The film features a great cast, especially John Turturro – who shares some great chemistry with Hoffman. Hoffman’s dedication to the role is obvious, typical of almost every performance of his fantastic career. This is especially apparent in one scene where he runs faster than I never imagined he was capable of!
It is far from a perfect movie, but it is a neat black comedy featuring for the most part unlikeable characters played by a great cast. Unlikeable characters aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so be mindful of that. But if what I have described sounds like your thing, I highlight recommend this flick, even if just for Hoffman’s final performance.
I again would like to extend my thanks to everyone who took part in this tribute to a great man.
He will forever be missed.
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