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.