Gimme the Loot
In Adam Leon’s debut feature, two teenaged graffiti artists, Malcolm (Hickson) and Sofia (Washington), attempt to leave their mark on an iconic monument at a New York baseball stadium. Needing $500 to pay off stadium security, the pair manoeuvre through a myriad of loosely-conceived schemes and disparate characters over 48 hours, from flirtations with over-privileged slackers to break-ins with irritable tattooed thieves.
Recalling the energy of early Cassavetes and Linklater, plus the latter’s fondness for eccentric conversations, Leon’s film has a lot of warmth, both in character interaction and the evocative capturing of a New York rarely portrayed in contemporary cinema. Bolstered by a low-key but assured aesthetic and a soundtrack of vintage soul and doo-wop, the film is infectiously enjoyable, with frequently amusing insights and an affable shagginess. Though its protagonists’ capers repeatedly prove hapless, Gimme the Loot is less about the goal – or even graffiti – and more the entertaining camaraderie of the aspirational duo and the irrational lengths they are willing to go for each other. [Josh Slater-Williams]