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Pieces

An unabashed vanity production, "Pieces" is the misfired saga of a trio of brothers whose illegal bent threatens to undo a legitimate front. Loud, brash and self-confident, the film is needlessly arty and obscure, which chafes badly with the more realistic Scorsese-wannabe elements of the story.

With:
Jon Russo - Jonathan Rea Joe Russo - Joe Russo Stevie Russo - Steve Shindle Gepetto - John Buck Jr. Atropos - Wendy James Detective Clemence - David Hoffmann Detective Judy - Harry Eddleman Larry - Larry Salvatore Sugar - Andy Zucca

An unabashed vanity production, “Pieces” is the misfired saga of a trio of brothers whose illegal bent threatens to undo a legitimate front. Loud, brash and self-confident, the film is needlessly arty and obscure, which chafes badly with the more realistic Scorsese-wannabe elements of the story. Confused nature of the exercise doesn’t translate to even a niche audience, and may force the filmmakers to resort to a door-to-door campaign to get the film seen outside of specialized and fest screenings.

Frantically jumping back and forth in time, the story comes to rest in Cleveland, where the Russo brothers operate a “hair clinic.” The fancy name is merely a cover for a cranial rug factory. Jon (Jonathan Rea) is the schemer, Joe (Joe Russo) the enforcer and Stevie (Steve Shindle) the good-natured, if dim, brother.

Their sideline is robbery, and, not surprisingly, when a job goes wrong, they get into a lot of trouble. Cops and crooks descend on the trio and are rebuffed primarily with braggadocio. If the filmmakers displayed a shade more wit, the ploy might appear remotely credible. Instead, it comes across as arrogant, misplaced and dramatically unlikely. The full-blown performances do little to create sympathy for the characters.

The title “Pieces” alludes to wigs, guns and the idiomatic slice of the action. But these remain references rather than elements effectively woven into the plot.

Pieces

Production: A Fat Girl Production presentation of a Russo Brothers film. Produced by Joe Russo, Anthony Russo. Executive producer, Basil M. Russo. Directed, written by Joe Russo, Anthony Russo.

Crew: Camera (color), David Litz; editor, Vagn Steen, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo; production design, Russ Borski; sound, Jonathan Andrews; assistant director, Jake Ast. Reviewed on videocassette , L.A., Nov. 1, 1997. (In AFI/L.A. Film Festival.) Running time: 72 MIN.

With: Jon Russo - Jonathan Rea Joe Russo - Joe Russo Stevie Russo - Steve Shindle Gepetto - John Buck Jr. Atropos - Wendy James Detective Clemence - David Hoffmann Detective Judy - Harry Eddleman Larry - Larry Salvatore Sugar - Andy Zucca

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