The Neighborhood

At the moment, there isn’t a more indulgent director than Frank D’Angelo.  The Canadian entrapreneur/musician has made a film career out of mob movies featuring (and recycling) loaded casts, essentially, playing cops n’ robbers.  The material is more than criminals and anti-heroes pointing guns and using twelve-letter words to berate each other, but some have argued otherwise.  The Neighborhood, unfortunately, gives the haters ammunition.

The Neighborhood is the second D’Angelo vehicle of 2017.  The first was February’s The Red Maple Leaf, a much better film with actual layers.  Whether it was intentional or not, The Red Maple Leaf was an ode to red herrings.  The work I’ve seen of D’Angelo’s has given much leeway to actors conversing about plot or hinting at other details in the story.  In the case of The Red Maple Leaf, these scenes led the viewer down some interesting paths that suggested different suspects and motives.

The same quirks are featured in The Neighborhood, but they don’t build towards anything new or exciting.  The Neighborhood follows a band of thieves (D’Angelo, Daniel Baldwin, Michael Paré, John Savage) who have been hustling since their teens (Francesco D’Angelo plays a young Frank, a nice touch).  The crooks have a rivalry with a nearby gang controlled by Gianluca Moretti (Giancarlo Giannini), but they keep to their own turf.  An inconvenient coincidence, however, disrupts this relationship, along with other acts of betrayal relating to self-assurance among these flawed characters.  Flawed?  Well, everyone but D’Angelo who still presents himself in everyone’s good graces.  He plays the amusingly named Angelo Donatello, and falls for the equally amusingly named Angela D’Amico (Laurie Fortier).  In his next film, I would like to see Frank reel this charm in.  The friendliness tends to be gratuitous when he veers on being a superhero without the cape.

If you watch The Neighborhood, you’ll receive a common yet efficeint crime flick with a catchy theme you’ll be humming all week.  There are opportunities to focus on more interesting angles to this story, such as the brotherhood of the thieves and a sub-plot about one of the hoodlums going rogue, but it’s clear Frank D’Angelo would rather entertain with this movie.  That’s fine this time, but I hope his next endeavour builds towards something more substantial.

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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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