Squeeze represents the flowering of homegrown filmmaking in Boston. Shot entirely in and around the city’s Dorchester neighborhood, this gritty debut film by writer-director Robert Patton-Spruill plays like a New England version of Boyz N the Hood.
Tyson (Tyrone Burton), Hector (Eddie Cutanda) and Bao (Phuong Duong) are three poor 14-year-olds trying to figure out where they fit into life on the streets. What follows is a series of episodes as the three adolescents try to make sense of the conflicting messages they get from drug dealers, relatives and officials. One source of help is JJ (Geoffrey Rhue), a kind but tough-minded youth counselor who survived the era of fistfights and heroin, but finds himself working in a time of guns and crack.
Patton-Spruill draws standout performances from his young cast, all of whom worked in the Dorchester Youth Collaborative. Critical attention will go to Burton for his portrayal of a character squeezed to the brink of destruction. Pic boasts a surprisingly polished look given the reported $500,000 budget.