The Narrows Plays Name-that-New-York-Crime-Drama


Tatiana Blackington’s screenplay may have been adapted from Tim McLoughlin’s 2001 novel Heart of the Old Country, but director François A. Velle’s pulpy coming-of-ager fleetingly resembles any number of New York crime dramas, and you, too, can play along: Growing up in Bay Ridge, sensitive tough-kid Mike Manadoro (Kevin Zegers) is taken under the wing of the local Brooklyn mob boss (ahem, GoodFellas!), much to the dismay of his father (A Bronx Tale!). His loyalties are tested after vouching for his self-destructive childhood friend (Mean Streets!), an Afghani war hero with a pregnant wife and a heroin habit. But Mike is ultimately torn between his shady duties and his artistic pursuit (Fingers!) as a photographer, taking college courses in Manhattan, where he further complicates his dramatic arc by cheating on his girlfriend with a pretty classmate (Sophia Bush), a woman his family wouldn’t approve of (A Bronx Tale again!). Serviceably enjoyable, like cold pizza but little more, The Narrows is well-acted (though it could use more heavy hitters to match Vincent D’Onofrio’s charisma as Mike’s small-time bookie dad) and the post-gentrification NYC details are on the nose. Why does every car-service operator insist it’ll only take five minutes, anyway?