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Michael Rainey Jr. (left) and Common star in the drama "LUV," screening in the U.S. Dramatic competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo by Bill Gray | Courtesy Sundance Institute)
Sundance review: "LUV"


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U.S. Dramatic

*** (three stars)

A kid gets a quick education on the mean streets of Baltimore, in director Sheldon Candis' atmospheric drama. Eleven-year-old Woody (Michael Rainey Jr.) worships his super-cool uncle Vincent (played by the rapper Common), so he is thrilled when Uncle Vincent takes him out of school for a day to teach him how to be a man. What Woody sees is Vincent hustling to get money to start a new business, and crossing paths with drug dealers and two mobster brothers (Dennis Haysbert and Danny Glover) who doubt Vincent's loyalty. Candis and his co-writer, Justin Wilson, create strong characters, particularly in the emotional push-and-pull between the increasingly desperate Vincent and the fast-learning Woody. The plot stalls in a few places, but the depiction of rough-and-tumble Baltimore is satisfyingly gritty.

-- Sean P. Means

"LUV" screens again:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 24, 5:30 p.m., Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
  • Thursday, Jan. 26, 8:30 p.m., Library Square Theatre, Park City
  • Friday, Jan. 27, 9:45 p.m., Broadway Centre Cinema 3, Salt Lake City
  • Saturday, Jan. 28, 9 a.m., Egyptian Theatre, Park City

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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