Bad Deal

Deuces Wild tries for retro chic but comes up a few cards short

In the late '50s, the head of a Brooklyn street gang (Stephen Dorff) must fight off attacks from a neighboring gang run by a junkie (Balthazar Getty), who is fronting for a drug dealer (Norman Reedus) fresh out of prison. At the same time, our hero's brother (Brad Renfro) is falling in love with the junkie's sister (Fairuza Balk), in classic West Side Story fashion. There's always something new to say in a venerable genre like the teen gang film, but Deuces Wild director Scott Kalvert and producer-screenwriters Paul Kimatian and Christopher Gambale haven't found it. Most of the film simply rehashes bits from classics like On the Waterfront and Goodfellas. The actors labor long and hard to bring some semblance of reality to the proceedings, but the whole affair has a distinctly faux '50s feel to it. Kalvert gooses things up with some visual tricks--slow motion and lots of weird dissolves--but there's not much he can do to camouflage the threadbare script.

 
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