God’s Pocket

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In the gritty, blue-collar neighborhood of God’s Pocket, Mickey Scarpato’s (Philip Seymour Hoffman) troubled stepson, Leon, is killed in a construction “accident,” and Mickey quickly tries to bury the bad news with the body. But when a local columnist comes sniffing around for the truth, things go from bad to worse. Mickey finds himself stuck in a life-and-death struggle compounded by a body he can’t bury, a wife he can’t please, and a debt he can’t pay. Acclaimed actor John Slattery (Mad Men) makes an impressive jump behind the camera with his assured directorial debut God’s Pocket, an adaptation of the Pete Dexter novel that shows he has a razor-sharp eye for conveying the absurdity, cruelty, desperation, and tragic optimism of the people he portrays. A Coen Brothers-esque dark comedy propelled by a top-shelf cast that also includes Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks and John Turturro, God’s Pocket is a memorably gritty and often shockingly hilarious blend of humor and heartbreak. (Dir. by John Slattery, 2014, US, 88 mins., Rated R, IFC Films) Digital