God’s Pocket is a grim town and there’s, apparently, things you only understand about it if you were brought up there, according to local hack Richard Shellburn (Richard Jenkins). The fact that meat van driver Mickey Scarpato (Philip Seymour Hoffman) did not originate from there seems to be a contributory factor to him seemingly not fitting in.
The film is set in the late ’70s, the specific year not being underlined, and early on, day-labourer and Scarpato’s stepson, Leon (Caleb Landry Jones), suffers an accident on the building site and Christina Hendricks, as the boy’s mother, and Scarpato’s wife, Jeanie, wants answers and demands that her husband look into this.
Her other half’s also a bit of an Arthur Daley, although even more bent as, he, Bird (John Turturro) and Sal (Domenick Lombardozzi) are seen stealing a lorry. Alas, despite a handful of nicely violent scenes and with the acting talent on display, including Eddie Marsan and the deliciously buxom Hendricks, it’s a mish mash of ideas that just don’t join up. And I couldn’t figure out how Shellburn is somehow a sexual god despite just being a journalist with the only newspaper around that people read.
You’ll no doubt watch God’s Pocket because it’s one of Hoffman’s last films – alongside his appearances in A Most Wanted Man and as Plutocrat Humvee in The Hunger Games: MockingJay Part 2, but it’s a bum note on which to go out.
The film is in its original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high defintion and gets across the ’70s locations without a hitch, as well as showing, say, the soft face of Christina Hendricks and the world-weary visage of Richard Jenkins. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 50″ Plasma TV with a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
Sound-wise, the film is in DTS 5.1 and, well, it’s a drama with very little going on in the rear speakers. God’s Pocket is played mostly for dialogue and ambience. Unfortunately, sometimes that dialogue is like BBC’s drama Jamaica Inn, where everyone was mumbling and you had to put the subtitles on to understand what they were saying… except, here, there are no subtitles! That’s very poor.
The extras are as follows, but unlike most Arrow releases, there are hardly any here. Blink and you’ll miss them:
- Deleted Scenes (2:47): 3 of them here, none of which stood out as needing to go back into the film, whether or not you enjoyed it.
- Trailer (2:12): In the original 2.35:1 ratio. It shows off rather too much of the film, but then again it is a shorter way of watching it…
This really doesn’t feel like an Arrow release at all, since as well as a lack of extras, there’s also trailers before the main menu which really shouldn’t happen. There’s also no subtitles, and the usual unimpressive 12 chapters like alot of distributors use, however long the film.
Running time: 88 minutes
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: January 12th 2015
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Disc Format: BD50
Directors: John Slattery
Producers: Lance Acord, Jackie Kelman Bisbee, Sam Bisbee, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Slattery and Emily Ziff
Screenplay: Alex Metcalf and John Slattery (based on the novel by Peter Dexter)
Music: Nathan Larson
Mickey Scarpato: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Richard Shellburn: Richard Jenkins
Arthur ‘Bird’ Capezio: John Turturro
Jeanie Scarpato: Christina Hendricks
Smilin’ Jack Moran: Eddie Marsan
Leon Hubbard: Caleb Landry Jones
Mole Ferrell: Jack O’Connell
Ray: Bill Buell
Fat Pat: Rebecca Kling
Lucien ‘Old Lucy’ Edwards: Arthur French
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.