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Movie review: Inauthentic characters populate ‘God’s Pocket’

By Sean P. Means

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published May 15 2014 03:44 pm • Last Updated May 18 2014 03:50 pm

"Mad Men" star John Slattery’s shrill directorial debut, "God’s Pocket," is an absurdist and often violent dramedy about gritty, booze-sodden people in a tough Philly neighborhood.

At its center is Mickey (Philip Seymour Hoffman, looking haggard in one of his final roles), a meatpacker with shady methods and, thanks to his buddy Burt (John Turturro), shadier connections.

At a glance


‘God’s Pocket’

Opens Friday, May 16, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for violence, language throughout and sexual content; 88 minutes.

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Mickey has to scramble to raise money when his deadbeat son, Leon (Caleb Landry Jones), is killed on a job site, and Mickey’s wife, Jeannie (Christina Hendricks), wants a nice funeral. Jeannie also wants the truth of how Leon died, so she welcomes the aid of Richard Shelburne (Richard Jenkins), an alcoholic newspaper columnist who quickly becomes infatuated with her.

Slattery, who adapted Pete Dexter’s novel with co-screenwriter Alex Lambert, wants us to treat these broken, hardscrabble folks as working-class heroes. Alas, they come off as caricatures who are less authentic than the people in a Bruce Springsteen song.

movies@sltrib.com; www.sltrib.com/entertainment

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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