'5 Corners,' a new movie directed by Tony Bill, is the name of a small and isolated neighborhood in the East Bronx, N.Y., and its story is told with affection and wit.
But the movie is more than an collection of neighborhood tales. In the tradition for which the movie 'American Graffiti' is best remembered, '5 Corners' also manages to create a singularly American story.
Filmed at the crossroads of an all-white neighborhood during the turbulent beginnings of the modern Civil Rights movements in 1964, Harry Fitzgerald, played by Tim Robbins, embodies the passion of the movement in his zeal to be free of a past steeped in violence. Yet when two neighborhood friends are in trouble, it's Harry they turn to for protection from the very violence he has vowed to give up.
The violence comes in the form of Heinz Sabantino, a neighborhood very bad-guy, played by John Turturro, whose release from prison sets off a night of bloody revenge.
But Harry's attempts to protect Linda, played by Jodie Foster, and her boyfriend, played by Todd Graff, from the rampaging Heinz, are just the backdrop for other tales of passion at this small crossroads in the Bronx. There's Melanie and Brita, played by Elizabeth Berridge and Cathryn De Prume respectively, dedicating themselves to life in the fast lane so they can blot out the thought that it's the pain of getting married and growing up that they're really afraid of.
And Detective Sullivan, played by John Seitz, and Sergeant Mazola, played by Gregory Rozakis, who while chasing a bow-and-arrow murderer of a high school algebra teacher happen to come face-to-face with the past and future of their small neighborhood.
There's even a penguin and a St. Bernard -- two far more important characters than you might suspect.
Bill presents his story of '5 Corners' with a delicate mix of passion and humor, satire and devotion. It's the story of a time in America that became a crossroads for a generation, as well as for a unique neighborhood called '5 Corners.'
Screenwriter John Patrick Shanley ('Moonstruck') said the story represented a dream of his 'to go back to one's childhood and get it right.'
He seemed to get it just right, this time.
This movie is rated R. Film contains violence.