Now, this is a very difficult movie to say something about. Even the story is hard to re-tell, since it, in a sense lacks a beginning and an end. The movie starts.. and in the end, ends. I wouldn't say it's an entirely realistic movie, but it shows a life, during a certain time. That way, the movie jumps into that life. That way, there's a past, and when it ends, there's a future. The movie tell us about the past, which is why it's so complicated telling the story. Too much of what happens during the time-frame of the movie, is based on the history with the other persons. But, basically, the story runs something like this. Leo (Mark Wahlberg) comes home from 16 months in prison. He meets his mother, former friends etc. He is adviced by his Aunt's husband (Frank) to educate himself, and he's got a job at his company. Instead he choose to start out directly, working with Frank's Stepdaughers (also Leo's cousin) love (and former friend) Vinnie. That work involves sabotaging for competitors in order to get contracts to their own (Frank's) company. It also involves bribing lots of people. During one night, sabotaging, the guard refuses to co-operate and is killed by Vinnie, while Leo run into problems with a policeman he knocks down. The police can identify Leo, and he becomes the suspect for the murder. At the same time, he's sacrified by Frank (and Vinnie) who wants to get rid of him, and give him to the police, because if he runs free, they might start investigating their business and discover all the bribes and stuff.
Sounds complicated? Told you! LOL
The story aren't exactly original, and we all have seen movies about the mafia before. What makes this different, is that it's kept on an everyday-level. The movie is very stylistic, and can be seen as a modern Film Noir, with dramatic shadows and short, cynical dialogue. Still, by keeping the film on such a slow and quiet level, it feels extremely realistic. A camera spying on "real life". Taking away all the drama around crime and the mafia, that's evident in most other movies. The mafia isn't about people shooting other people, doing big crime etc. At the lower end, it's about a small bribe to a civil servant, etc, and this movie show that everyday business.
A quiet, slow-moving tragic dram, this for sure isn't for impatient action-fans, but for people more interested in sitting down and get involved with the characters. If you're prepared to do that, this is a totally hypnotizing movie.
The amount of great actors/actresses sure helps. Mark Wahlberg, Ellen Burstyn, Faye Dunaway, Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron and James Caan. All play it very laidback, and quiet, which adds to the realism, and feeling of everyday life.
At the same time, it sure isn't without flaws. You kinda have to be prepared to watch the movie. The dialogue with it's film noir touches, feels kinda laugable at times. The story isn't original. The worst part being that the movie don't have a point, as such. It shows life, that's it. You don't get any right or wrong, and it doesn't even encourage you to decide what's right or wrong.
But, as I said, if you're in the mood for it, you see some really great actors, in a very engaging little tragedy.