main value of this film will be as a star vehicle for its three players, for
it has a cast of only three: Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Franz as a couple of
middle-aged hard-side-of-town "businessmen," and 15-year-old Sean
Nelson who plays a kind of a surrogate son to both of the men.
Franz's character, Don, is a junk store owner who feels he
was unfairly taken advantage of by a customer who paid him $90 for an Indian-head-buffalo
nickle, so he plots with the other two characters to break into the customer's
home to steal the nickle back, along with anything else of value they can
heist. The dynamics among the three characters, and a redemptive climax which
carries the message that love and fellow-feeling is what matters after all,
give it some redeeming value.
Adapted from a play by David Mamet, this film has a very theatrical
feel, depending on dramatic dialog and personal dynamics to carry it. Hoffman's
character is never clearly described, except that we know he lives in a single
hotel room, gets into talking jags where he chatters incessantly, and can
become explosive. Though not actually in business with Franz's character,
both he and the boy hang out at the junk store on the lookout for opportunities
to make a few bucks here and there.
There's not a lot here, but if you like tight drama with compelling
dialog, it's worth a look.
Photo © by the film's distributor
© 1997, Jon Kennedy-