Troy Garity has never looked more consistently ashen than he does as the title character in The Brooklyn Banker. The usually lively actor (these days, you can watch him getting continually turnt with Dwayne Johnson on HBO’s sports-agent comedy Ballers) spends most of the movie with a constant look of worry on his mug.
There’s a good reason his banker is so anxiety-ridden: His neighborhood’s resident Mob boss (David Proval) wants this numbers-crunching family man to join his crew. As much as our boy would prefer to stay on the straight-and-narrow, he knows this quietly menacing mafioso is not going to take no for an answer.
This Seventies-era period piece is the directorial debut of Federico Castelluccio (a/k/a ponytailed enforcer Furio from The Sopranos), who attempts to create the sort of gritty, solemn character study that probably could’ve come out during the Me Decade.
Unfortunately, this low-budget production comes up short in many places: limited performances, barely developed characters, a muddled script. The movie also has a sluggish, lumbering pace, effectively offsetting the paranoid, anxious vibe of Garity’s performance. If anything, Banker feels more like a psychological thriller than a character-driven crime drama.
Unlike most other gangster films, which envision mobsters as untouchable badasses, Banker presents them as ball-busting boogeymen, always keeping a percolating reign of terror in the same neighborhood they claim to love so dearly. While The Brooklyn Banker recalls a time when wiseguys were a necessary evil, it also reminds you that they were still evil.
The Brooklyn Banker
Directed by Federico Castelluccio
Opens August 5, Cinema Village