List Film

Strays (2 stars)

(15) 79mins (Revolver)

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Strays

ROMANCE/DRAMA

Although a big name now, Vin Diesel couldn’t get work before this film was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize in Sundance back in 1997. Written, directed and produced by the man of muscle himself, this is half coming-of-age film (Diesel’s twenty something character develops more slowly than most it seems) and half vanity project. There is not a woman in the film who isn’t immediately turned on by his pea-headed, broad shouldered, low-key New York drug dealer, and the film never quite finds justification for his charms beyond the fact that the star also penned and directed the project. This is especially a problem when the film is predicated on a romance between Rick (Diesel) and the Waspish Heather (Suzanne Lanza), who is sophisticated and educated when the film wants her to be, and gormless the rest of the time. In several homages to Taxi Driver, Diesel reveals his influences but also his limitations: there’s not much texture to the psychology here, and almost no social context. Watchable, nevertheless. Extras include a ‘making of’ documentary.

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