In the rail yards of Queens, contractors repair and rebuild the city’s subway cars. These contracts are lucrative, so graft and corruption are rife. When Leo Handler gets out of prison, he finds his aunt married to Frank Olchin, one of the big contractors; he’s battling with a minority-owned firm for contracts. Willie Gutierrez, Leo’s best friend, is Frank’s bag man and heads a crew of midnight saboteurs who ruin the work of the Puerto Rican-owned firm. Leo needs a job, so Willie pays him to be his back-up. Then things go badly wrong one night, a cop IDs Leo, and everyone now wants him out of the picture. Besides his ailing mom and his cousin Erica, to whom can Leo turn? —IMDb
Bio: Writer/director James Gray made his first film Little Odessa (1994) at the age of twenty-four. The film, which starred Tim Roth, Edward Furlong, Vanessa Redgrave and ‘Maximillian Schell’, received critical acclaim and was the winner of the Venice Film Festival’s prestigious Silver Lion Award in 1994.
Miramax Films released James Gray’s second feature, The Yards (2000) starring Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Faye Dunaway, Ellen Burstyn, Charlize Theron and James Caan in fall of 2000. The film was selected for official competition at the 2000 Cannes International Film Festival. Prior to ‘The Yards’ and ‘Little Odessa’, Gray attended film school at the University of Southern California. It was there that his student film Cowboys and Angels was first seen by producer Paul Webster, who encouraged Gray to write his first feature script.
As a child growing up in Queens, New York, Gray aspired to be a painter. However, when introduced in his early teenage years to the works… read more
I've moved in reverse order with Gray's filmography and unless Little Odessa is some kind of aberrant mess, it would seem as if he emerged fully formed as the greatest American modernist since Cimino. The Yards is as operatic a view of American corruption as The Godfather, yet it has a raw humanity in the jaundiced frame that never lets people become mere symbols. Astonishing.
class issues and existentialism raised to operatic heights, with an ending that reeks of Rossellini
James Gray achieves a rare thing with "The Yards", in combining classical drama respecting most of the codes and stylistic implications of the crime & mafia genre, and bringing a true new breath by including ambiguous characters and an interesting and unexpected setting (the train industry). Theron is great, and Wahlberg could even convince you that he's not such a bad actor. Always good to see James Caan in form.
Jordan Mintzer’s collection of interviews is an indispensable source of insight into one of today’s best American filmmakers.
One of the great cinematographers has left us. Savides worked with Van Sant, James Gray, Fincher, Noah Baumbach, Sophia Coppola, and more.
Gray is at BAMcinématek tonight. And Offscreen focuses on Fellini and Powell and Pressburger.
Also: A Cinefamily telethon, James Gray in New York and more.
Notons une fois encore l’immense talent de James Gray, dès son deuxième film, à l’écriture et à la mise en scène. Cette dernière possède une photographie extrêmement soignée et une réalisation implacable… read review