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Hoods

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R
1998

Hoods is a 1998 dark comedy-drama directed by Mark Malone, featuring an ensemble cast that includes Joe Mantegna, Kevin Pollak, and Joe Pantoliano. Set in the mid-1970s, the movie's action primarily takes place against the backdrop of the Mob-controlled neighborhoods of New Jersey. The film takes a slice-of-life approach, focusing on the personal aspect of its characters and their interactions with each other and society at different levels.

Joe Mantegna plays the role of Angelo, an aging mob boss trying to maintain a grip on his rapidly changing world. His character is a mixture of toughness and vulnerability, reflecting the pressures and contradictions of leading a criminal organization. Mantegna's nuanced portrayal of Angelo further enhances the depth and sophistication of the narrative.

Kevin Pollak stars as Rudy, Angelo's loyal right-hand man, who finds his loyalties tested as events unfold. Pollak's performance as a torn man, caught between two worlds, brings an additional layer of complexity to the plot. Joe Pantoliano portraying the role of Charlie, Angelo's brother, is another highlight of Hoods. Pantoliano's character offers lighter moments in the movie, presenting a more relatable, human side of the mafia.

The narrative's central plot revolves around Angelo's struggle to maintain his sway over the Mafia he has seemingly controlled with an iron fist for decades. However, new conflicts emerge threatening to disrupt the status quo – primarily in the form of law enforcement, rival gangs, and internal dissension.

One of the unique aspects of Hoods is its approach to depicting the mobster lifestyle. Instead of showing a glamorous, 'Godfather'-esque world, the film offers a down-to-earth portrayal of the mob. These are ordinary men, with families and personal problems, who simply happen to be in a violent, unlawful business. The film further underlines the fact that despite the criminal facade, these characters are more human and flawed than they initially appear, with their own dreams, aspirations, and fears.

Concurrently, Hoods emphasizes the personal toll this lifestyle takes on those involved, with a particular focus on relationships. Angelo's interactions with his wife, son, friends, and the 'family' brilliantly exposes the sacrifices made and the damage done to personal and familial relationships. In the midst of it all, the script doesn't shy away from delivering biting satire about the mob life and society at large.

The film displays its dark humor and gritty realism through a blend of atmospheric settings, punchy dialogue, and tense action sequences. The cinematography effectively showcases the grimly authentic settings, while the flamboyant 70s fashion, music, and cultural references provide a vibrant counterpoint to the darker themes of the movie.

Hoods smartly balances its mob-centric plotline with subtle social commentary. It presents a reflection on the era, illustrating the influence and reach of organized crime in public life and the corresponding response of law enforcement. Furthermore, it shows the disillusionment of a generation, embodied in the character of Angelo's son, who desperately desires a life far removed from his father’s underworld.

In summary, Hoods is a compelling depiction of a decade marked by rampant organized crime and societal change. It's not just a mob movie, but a story of traditions being upended, of loyalties challenged, and of the personal cost of life on the wrong side of the law. While it explores these darker themes, the film infuses humor and humanity that make the characters real and relatable. The performances by Joe Mantegna, Kevin Pollak, and Joe Pantoliano are compelling, breathing life into their characters and tying together this complex, thought-provoking narrative.

Hoods is a Drama, Comedy movie released in 1998. It has a runtime of 90 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it mostly poor reviews, with an IMDb score of 4.9..

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4.9/10
Director
Mark Malone
Stars
Vincent Berry, Jay Brazeau , Craig Bruhnanski
Also directed by Mark Malone
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