The Yards (2000)


Who ever thought the life owning rail road tracks was this dangerous?

Fresh out of the joint, Queens native Leo Handler (Mark Wahlberg) tries to get himself on the right track in the rail yards with help from his shady Uncle Frank (James Caan), the head of a business that repairs New York City’s subway trains. In short order, Leo learns to grease politicians’ palms and to sabotage competitors to win fat government contracts. But Leo ends up as the scapegoat when things go awry during a late-night raid on a rival.

The Yards is directed by James Gray, same dude that did the very depressing and emotional, Two Lovers. And the one reason why I like this film, and why I liked that film, was because the film is less about using the fun of guns and violence, instead its more about the characters and how all of them are effected by smuggling and illegal happenings in the company.

Gray had a very same situation, like this plot, happen to his family, and you can tell by his inspired direction. Many scenes are filmed with a certain style, such as one scene where there is complete silence and you on the edge of your seat, as to what is going to happen. The writing is pretty good from Gray, because many of these characters show emotion that you wouldn’t have thought of. Also, the way its shot, is very dramatic, dark, gloomy, and overall effective, because it sets a tone for the movie and showing how bad this city really is.

However, I had many, and I do mean, many problems with this film. First, there is a lot of talking, some of it amusing, and some of it just plain old boring. I mean the film has little short bursts of action, but there are usually just scenes of these people talking, and it wasn’t very entertaining to say the least. Secondly, the film has a whole bunch of plot holes which are very evident in this film, such as the fact that Marky Mark is going to put all this evidence against his uncle, considering he’s been working for him, , like about 2 days. Also, when did a transit training job become a such a job that is so deadly people are dying over it left and right as if it were the mafia. Lastly, James Cann character was totally one-note the whole time. Never did we see him actually care for some one in his family, or love them, no he just cared about his business and order people to die.

Though the main great thing about this movie is the acting of its A-list cast. Mark Wahlberg is very good here as you would expect him, and shows a lot of potential in the future with this very young performance. But the real star of the show was Joaquin Phoenix, who dives really well into his character showing off a really cool and chill guy that you want to be around, but yet a tragic character all the same. The scenes that him and Charlize Theron have together are very good, and you can feel the love and passion between these two on-screen.

Consensus: The Yards benefits from good performances, dazzling cinematography, and an inspired writing and direction from Gray, but has way too many plot holes that are pretty obvious, and is shown at a snail slow pace that will surely put some to sleep.

6/10=Rental!!!

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