God’s Pocket – Review (Spoiler Free)

gods-pocket-posterTonally confused, unfunny and slightly insulting to boot – God’s Pocket is riddled with flaws.


God’s Pocket tells the bleak story of the struggling everyman in an ultra trashy American neighbourhood, and it tells the story of crime within a close-knit community and it also tells the darkly comedic story of a man trying to raise funds for his stepson’s funeral… it tries to do all of these at the same time, and fails. One moment we are supposed to be laughing at slapstick humour, the next we are buried in the devastating anguish of a grieving mother. The performances should bring us close to tears, but instead we are distracted by what are often distinctly unfunny and mistimed jokes.

Unfortunately being  tonally all over the place isn’t God’s Pocket only failing, it also falls fowl of having a weak script that treats us like we are idiots. We’re presented with some horrifically cliché characters, particularly Richard Jenkins’ stock writer role, who just drift around trying to start their character arcs that will ultimately not wind up becoming completed, within a script that hopes that you won’t notice it forgets about its plot midway through the movie.  That’s not to say that some characters don’t have their moments; Christina Hendricks works her character’s grief through her body language and her eyes and therefore gains one scene which is quietly devastating. Also Hoffman rises considerably above the material, which makes his character consistently interesting to watch, even if he isn’t as developed as he should have been.

GODS POCKET

In defense of the film, it isn’t really awful. Some of the humour works and works well. As I’ve said some of the performances manage to be interesting despite what they were given by the script, and also one of its attempts at insight into the lives of the characters surprises you as to feeling true rather than contrived. As far as the editing goes… it’s a mixed bag. There are some interesting conversations raised across cuts as two scenarios are juxtaposed against each other. Sometimes you come away from a scene thinking about what comparisons the film may be drawing between ‘X’ and ‘Y’. Then again, at other times it links things together that really say very little and feel more like concepts that are being played with but never were fully developed.

In fact the whole film feels like a concept that hasn’t been drafted enough. God’s Pocket is two drafts away from being a really good film. In theory it has a lot going for it; a great cast, probing looks into the everyman’s life, mixed in with a discussion on life, death and grief, with a healthy dollop of black comedy to spice things up. There’s so much room for greatness here but nearly every scene feels rough around the edges when it cuts too abrasively or slightly mistimes a joke. It’s a real shame but the movie isn’t completely unwatchable as it is. You’ll get a few decent laughs out of it and it’s worth seeing for the work Hoffman has put into it.

Summary:

What is the film’s greatest strength? Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance.

Its greatest weakness? Just how uncertain and faltering this movie this. 

Would I see it again? I’ll pass on seeing this one again I think.

Knock out your thoughts in the comment box below!

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10 comments

  1. I love Philip Seymour Hoffman, so I’d like to watch this. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I love him too and he is the best thing about this one!
      If I were you I would perhaps rent this one as it’s pretty flawed…

  2. Sad 😦 I wanted this to be really good!

    1. Yeah same… still fingers crossed that Hoffman will get a decent send off with A Most Wanted Man

      1. Yeah, I’ve heard great things about that one.

        1. It should be good… I hope it is.

  3. Shame this isn’t better, but I will be seeing it hopefully at some point for the PSH factor. I believe this is his last film role, right?

    Great review dude!

    1. Thanks!
      Yeah he is always with seeing. He has one last one (A Most Wanted Man) chronologically and then technically he has Hunger Games to come out, although he filmed that a while back.

      1. The States have already gotten A Most Wanted Man, but yeah I forgot he also had that as one of his last. That movie was fantastic.

        1. Ah right, well that’s very good to hear as I am really looking forward to it!

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