Critics' Pick

Gimme the Loot (NR)

Drama 81 April 19, 2013
By Michael Atkinson
A big winner at last year's SXSW, this palm-size Bronx indie about a couple of graffiti bombers aiming to gain fame by tagging the Mets' Home Run Apple runs on nothing but biodiesel personality. Malcolm (Ty Hickson) and Sofia (Tashiana Washington) are mates only in spraying, and they work a variety of small-time crimes (dealing, stolen goods) to raise the money needed to fulfill their dream. It’s a nowhere set-up—tagger prestige and two-fifty will get you on the B—and hardly even required, as first-timer Leon limns the neighborhoods' textures without patronizing, drops his kids into skirmishes and mishaps, and focuses, slowly, on their budding romance. Rather '80s-retro as indies go (it's even shot rather Spike Lee-ishly), the movie banks not so much on street cred but on old-fashioned movie charisma. Hickson is amiable and deft, if still a touch awkward with dialogue, but Washington, playing a defensive and belligerent child of her borough, is radiant, razor-like and preeminently watchable. Equally magnetic, Zoë Lescaze is unforgettable as a rich-white-girl pot-buyer with no self-control. Leon's grungy résumé indie is a modest deal, with a sweet, mumblecoresque ending, but it glows with unmistakable star power.
Adam Leon Tashiana Washington, Ty Hickson, Meeko, Zoë Lescaze, Sam Soghor, Adam Metzger, Greyson "Gordo" Cruz, James Harris Jr., Joshua Rivera, Melvin Mogoli, Zoë Lescaze Adam Leon Natalie Difford, Dominic Buchanan, Jamund Washington IFC Films