Brooklyn Rules (2007)

Now that "The Sopranos" is really off the air, and we can all ponder what that ending really meant (if anything), Sopranos veteran writer, Terrence Winter, turns attention to writing a mob movie. Brooklyn Rules tries to combine a coming of age story for three Bay Ridge young men against the backdrop of the mid-80's New York mob scene. While plenty of reviewers dismissed this film for the limited use of its only star, Alec Baldwin, I really don't like his work (or how he treats his daughter), so that was fine by me.

A trio of Brooklyn early twenty year olds are struggling to find their place in the world. The local tough guy in their neighborhood, Caesar Manganaro (Baldwin) seems all powerful, and runs the area for the mob. The kids look up to him, and one pathway leads to becoming one of his crew, and one of the kids goes this route. For another, he decides to go to Columbia University where he is pre-law, and wants to get out of the ol' neighborhood, although getting out is never easy. Finally, for the third, he takes a pathway all of his own.

As Brooklyn Rules proceeds, it starts to feel like a lot of other mob movies, notably, A Bronx Tale, which is indisputably the stronger film. Still, there haven't been too many mob movies lately, and Brooklyn Rules can stand on its own. While many of the one liners between the characters are cliches and sophomoric, it does develop the relationship between them, and we do understand where they're all coming from.

One of the strengths of this film is the setting of New York City, and how they effectively used it in the film. The Verrazano Bridge is seen in the background of many shots, and they make the trip to a Brooklyn hotspot of the Spumoni Gardens. They also show Columbia University, and the scene in Manhattan's diamond district is quite hilarious.

With the disclaimer that Brooklyn Rules doesn't break any new ground, than I'm going to recommend it as just an enjoyable coming of age story in Brooklyn. Alec Baldwin fans can look elsewhere. Also of note is that among the 80's soundtrack for this film is Dire Straits' "Walk of Life."

Overall Grade: B

Reviewed by Jonas

No comments: