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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

Steel City (review)

Sometimes only the words of another critic will suffice: James Greenberg in The Hollywood Reporter called this 2006 Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee “the visual equivalent of a Bruce Springsteen song,” and nothing I could come up with could top that perfect description. Deceptively deep once you look past its frank surface, this stark and volatile film follows the quiet ordeal of P.J. (Tom Guiry: Mystic River), a young man struggling to make his way in a world where jobs don’t come easy and emotional support, always tenuous at best, is threatened now that his father, Carl (John Heard: The Great Debaters), has landed behind bars after a deadly car accident. What looks like a kind of abandonment is complicated by P.J.’s own uncertainty about those still standing by him — his girlfriend, Amy (a pre-Ugly Betty America Ferrera); his uncle, Vic (Raymond J. Barry: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) — whom he seems to want to push away just as they rally around him. Writer-director Brian Jun looks sideways at the warring feelings of regret and despair, love and pride eddying through P.J., as if the only way to learn who he really is — and who is he becoming — is to sneak up on him. Smartly conceived and surely executed, this is an impressive theatrical debut from a promising new talent. Extras include a short by Jun, two commentary tracks, trailer, and more.

MPAA: rated R for language and brief drug use

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
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