Liberty Kid elevates that woeful genre, the 9/11 movie, by keeping a Wire-worthy ear to the street talk of south Williamsburg and maintaining a shrewd balance of the personal and the political for two full acts. It is, alas, a three-act narrative. No matter: Produced by indie stalwart Larry Fessenden, the sophomore feature from writer-director Ilya Chaiken stages an uncommonly acute, deftly played drama of the New York working class.
Derrick (Al Thompson) and Tico (Kareen Saviñon) find themselves out of work on September 12 when their Liberty Island concession stand is shut down. Wage-slave indignity gives way to a grudging coke operation (and a hilarious batch of business cards offering “Party Favers”), followed by the inevitable rough-and- tumble rivalries, jealousies, seductions, and betrayals. The actors remain superb even as Chaiken triple-underlines every-thing in the bittersweet denouement. Kudos to Kid, nevertheless, for having something worth saying in the first place.