“Baltimore always seems like the kind of city you either leaving or just returning to. Ain’t no kinda place to hang your hat.”
A basic indie flick along the lines of Blindspotting where a kid played by McCaul Lombardi survives the confines of prison and home arrest and “makes” plans to start over. Aimless and untethered to a semblance of creative progression, the film, in the words of Nick Allen (ROGER EBERT), is like “The Florida Project” for the working class people in Baltimore’s Dundalk area community. A record of the mundane day-to-day existence of an unfulfilled twenty-year-old, collapsed between the hopeful escape towards right living and family, while being roped back by low-lifes and his own inability to make good decisions. While the film touches on ideas regarding his own means to escape, it never explores them further. A main character content, like the filmmakers, to appear busy without actually doing much. As Rex Reed (OBSERVER) correctly assesses:
The screenplay is naturalistic and the lead actor holds attention, but the film is too long and inconsequential to make much of a lasting impact as Keith meanders through his daily routines.
Lombardi seems to have a genuine good heart and a trigger happy temper, signaling his own inability perhaps to change and escape his presence circumstance. Like Blindspotting, he seems haunted by ghosts of his genetics. Like Blindspotting, he has an ex-girlfriend who he makes a tepid effort to win back. Like 6 Balloons, there is elements of a moving relationship with his sister, but those few scenes where the two interact does too little to overcome the films frivolous writing or come close to the emotional impact that the equally new, Marja-Lewis Ryan, managed to pull-off using much less time.
The ending itself feels like the filmmakers tried their luck with an ambiguous finale but really created an unfinished product that feels like a few reels went missing. Unlike the moviemakers of Blindspotting, Matthew Porterfield does not demonstrate the competence of writing or creative design to make a film worth watching.