I enjoyed this film because I lived not too far from the men's shelter, the Fort Washington Avenue Armory, where the movie takes place, during the same time, late 1980s/early 1990s. So all the landmarks are familiar: the Audubon Ballroom (where Malcom X was assassinated); the G.W. Bridge bus depot; the on-ramps and off-ramps to the bridge where the squeegee men worked; the Blarney Stone Irish bar where people drank. The Fort Washington Avenue Armory was a large men's shelter on 168th Street across from the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital emergency room. It has since been refurbished and is now the home of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. One evening my first summer in Manhattan when my wife and I were returning from downtown with some good friends who were visiting we came upon a guy stretched out flat on his back on the sidewalk in front of the men's shelter a big knot the size of large egg growing out of the top of his forehead just like you see in old Warner Brothers cartoons. His pants pockets were turned inside out and he was moaning. I remember thinking, "Oh, this is what is normal here." I guess it was a Friday, a payday, and this guy had been rolled. Someone ran across the street to the ER to get help. The movie captures the violence vibe well, but it's not sensationalist. Matt Dillon, still young and attractive, delivers a good performance. But the movie is Danny Glover's (a young slender Ving Rhames is excellent as well). If you're a fan of Tim Hunter (OVER THE EDGE, RIVER'S EDGE) as I am you'll want to see this.
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