‘Gimme the Loot’: Tag it slight but sunny
A movie review of “Gimme the Loot,” writer-director Adam Leon’s platonic/romantic comedy that focuses on a couple of Bronx graffiti artists who challenge a rival gang.
Special to The Seattle Times
‘Gimme the Loot,’ with Tashiana Washington, Ty Hickson, Zoe Lescaze. Written and directed by Adam Leon. 81 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains nonstop profanity). Varsity.
First shown here at last year’s Seattle International Film Festival, this shoestring-budget comedy could just as easily be called “Two Days in the Life of a Couple Who Don’t Yet Know They’re a Couple.”
Sofia (Tashiana Washington) and Malcolm (Ty Hickson) are Bronx teenagers who identify first of all as graffiti artists. The first close-up is of hands stealing spray-paint cans from a convenience store. When they’re chased out of the parking lot, the kids register what looks like their thrill of the day. (The store manager clearly feels otherwise.)
Next up: They’re outraged that a rival gang has trashed their latest work. So naturally they commit themselves to breaking a 20-year-old record involving the New York Mets, their stadium (it was Shea, now it’s Citi Field) and the tagging of a Home Run Apple.
Lost already? Not to worry. That’s not what “Gimme the Loot” is about anyway. You don’t have to be a baseball fan or a Mets enthusiast to follow the series of comic riffs that writer-director Adam Leon develops along with his startlingly naturalistic actors.
Best of all is an extended episode with a seductive rich girl (scene-stealing Zoe Lescaze) who nearly transforms Sofia and Malcolm’s platonic relationship into a romantic triangle. Malcolm is literally saved by a bell — and a water tower that ends up cooling everyone off.
“Gimme the Loot” looks like it was improvised, especially the street scenes with Sofia and Malcolm walking and talking and establishing boundaries. They’ll let each other talk dirty and hint at a physical relationship, but it’s understood that there are limits.
They’re really just kids, enjoying a gorgeous New York day and occasionally colliding with a more threatening adult reality. It may be a slight movie, but it has its sunny charms.
John Hartl: firstname.lastname@example.org