The Narrows Francois Valle

The Narrows Francois Valle
It took a couple of sittings to get through The Narrows, a low key mob movie about cyclic patterns of behaviour and the unlikelihood of intermingling class systems. While not a terrible film, featuring a handful of decent performances and a story that parallels hokum without riding into it, there's an overwhelming sense of limitation. Never do we get the impression that something profound or moving will happen, as the writing and direction are trapped by limited ambition and lack of purpose. Based on the novel Heart of the Old Country by Tim McLoughlin, the story details the struggles of Mike Manadoro (Kevin Zegers), a 19-year-old Brooklyn boy dreaming of being a photographer, despite his father Vinny's (Vincent D'Onofrio) shady business dealings. Unable to get a loan for art classes at NYU, Mike takes a job couriering mysterious packages for crime kingpin Tony (Titus Welliver). Meanwhile, his relationship with Gina (Monica Keena), the neighbourhood girl, fizzles when he develops a crush on Kathy (Sophia Bush), his clean-cut classmate at school. In addition to writing that never pops off the page or says anything we haven't heard before, the film struggles from frequently unconvincing setups, with mobster discussions coming off as overly clichéd and amateurish. It's difficult to buy into a world that feels so overtly constructed. In addition, Mike's relationships with both Gina and Kathy never make any kind of sense, given how undeveloped they are, acting only as motivators to drive a blasé plot forward. Still, Zegers invests himself thoroughly in the role, despite being woefully miscast, giving some appeal to the overall arc. The DVD includes a commentary track and interview with writer Tatiana Blackington and director Francois Valle, which details the many delays and hiccups in getting this project off the ground. Additional interviews with Sophia Bush, Kevin Zegers and Vincent D'Onofrio outline what attracted each actor to the project. (Mongrel Media)