Friday, May 29, 2009

DVD: Brooklyn Rules

Icon Home Entertainment

Directed by Michael Corrente
Written by Terence Winter
Starring Alec Baldwin, Freddie Prinze Jr., Scott Caan, Mena Suvari, Jerry Ferrara

Although the initial feel of 'Brooklyn Rules' is a seemingly derivative teenager-caught-up-in-the-mob tale, the intended message is a much more wholesome one (without being too "rom-com" about it) with very little emphasis on graphic violence (only one truly violent scene, and nothing much is shown) and greater weight put on character definition and the bond of friendship.

Indeed 'Brooklyn Rules' is a story of childhood friends much more than it is a gangster movie, but with enough grit that it's not going to end up being Sunday afternoon TV fodder. What makes the movie so enjoyable is the flawless and often very funny constant banter between the trio of fast-talking friends at the heart of the story played by Freddie Prinze Jr. (who needn't have gone so heavy on the cliché Brooklyn accent), Scott Caan and the ever-so-Sean-Astin Jerry Ferrara. Mena Suvari doesn't have much to do but Alec Baldwin is near-perfect in his role as wise guy Caesar, doing an excellent job of making the viewer see the good side of his character.

The movie received some heavy criticism upon its cinematic release in the US for trying too hard to be like other famous mob movies. To be honest, a point was missed here. This movie isn't trying to be a mob movie. It's set in the classic New York mob era, and certainly the story has a lot of mob elements which drive it on, but these are just the background to the main story about the three friends. The causes of most of their problems, and the events in the film, could have been set against any backdrop where one of the trio starts to get involved in crime. This could have been set around a modern-day criminal gang in any major US city and it wouldn't have altered the movie in the slightest, aside from some of the period-specific dialogue and clothing etc.

'Brooklyn Rules' doesn't revolutionise anything. Very little about the movie is markedly different to what already exists, but the story is good, the acting is strong and the motif clear. If approached with an open mind viewers should find themselves caring enough about the characters to be suitably affected by some of the key events while watching, and although the ending feels ever-so-slightly rushed, it's a satisfying if untaxing viewing experience.

“ very funny constant banter ”

Release Date: May 18, 2007 (USA)
DVD Release Date: August 11, 2008
Studio: Southpaw Entertainment
Feature Running Time: 95 mins
Certificate: 15
Language(s): English
Subtitles: None
Other Format(s): None