Parents' Guide to

God's Pocket

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Edgy drama has good performances but is thin, depressing.

Movie R 2014 88 minutes
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Actor John Slattery, of Mad Men, began his directorial career by going behind the camera for several episodes of that hit show, but his skills don't seem to translate to the big screen. Adapting and directing Pete Dexter's 1983 novel GOD'S POCKET, Slattery makes a movie that seems to cry out for some kind of black humor. After all, it has a dead body bouncing around in a truck for half of its running time. And yet it's played straight, as a grim, washed-out, hopeless drama.

Where the movie goes right is in its casting. The late, great Hoffman gives a powerful, pained performance in one of his final movies. Jenkins is also interesting as the writer whose "common people" newspaper columns are adored. Hendricks, Marsan, and John Turturro add some color, and a few moments spring to life, but their characters are mostly under explored. We leave knowing less than we might expect, but -- given the movie's depressing tone -- more than we probably want to.

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