NY TIMES REVIEWS "LIBERTY KID"
Two Drifting Life Rafts on a Sea of Circumstance
There’s not a single wrong note in “Liberty Kid,” Ilya Chaiken’s poignant drama about marginal lives strained to breaking by the aftermath of Sept. 11.
When the best friends Derrick (Al Thompson) and Tico (Kareem Saviñon) lose their concession-stand jobs at the Statue of Liberty after the terrorist attacks, they drift into low-level drug dealing and petty insurance scams. But the Dominican-born Derrick has higher aspirations for a college future and regular support payments for his two young children, and when Army recruiters come calling — assuring him that a war with Iraq is “not gonna happen” — he makes a decision he will come to regret.
Tender, wise and deceptively low-key, “Liberty Kid” reaches beyond its vulnerable protagonists to enfold an entire class of circumstantial victims. Gently nudging her story in unexpected directions, Ms. Chaiken never allows her small budget to show: from Eliot Rockett’s beautifully lighted photography to the ease with which the actors inhabit their roles, everything about this film feels effortless. Even a support-group scene featuring real Iraq war veterans, which could have appeared jarringly staged, rings with understated authenticity.
Focusing on the quotidian over the episodic, “Liberty Kid” quietly accumulates emotional power. Not until the graceful, perfectly judged conclusion do we realize how much we care.
Opens on Wednesday in Manhattan.
Written and directed by Ilya Chaiken; director of photography, Eliot Rockett; edited by Dave Rock; music by Jeff Grace; production designer, Jesse Cain; produced by Larry Fessenden, Mike S. Ryan and Roger Kass; released by Glass Eye Pix. At the Two Boots Pioneer Theater, 155 East Third Street, at Avenue A, East Village. Running time: 1 hour 32 minutes. This film is not rated.
WITH: Al Thompson (Derrick), Kareem Saviñon (Tico), Raquel Jordan (Denice), Rosa Ramos (Awilda), Anny Mariano (Sister), Johnny Rivera (Nelson) and Rayniel Rufino (Mike).
Source: NY TIMES