Malcolm and Sofia are graffiti artists who need $500. Malcolm has a friend who can get them into the Mets Stadium after hours, and there, the inner city teens plan to “bomb” (i.e tag) the apple that rises in the stands every time a Mets player hits a home run. The $500 will get them inside; the ultimate bomb will get them notoriety. Malcolm and Sofia’s efforts to score that cash represents the overall plot of Gimme the Loot, a thrilling, wonderful new coming-of-age comedy now on DVD.
The movie follows Malcolm and Sophia as they spend the next two days trying to scrounge together the 500 bucks. Along the way, Sofia’s bike gets stolen, she gets ripped off by some competing bombers, Malcolm steals a stash of pot from a dealer he sells for, he meets a rich girl (Zoë Lescaze) who toys with his heart, and he loses his shoes. After the rich girl shows her true colors, she becomes the target of a laughable heist. The last half of the movie involves Malcolm and Sofia plotting to break into her apartment with the help of street hood named Champion, (played by a real-life ex-con named Meeko, whose charisma is barely contained on film).
Everything about Gimme the Loot is loose and charming. It features two stars-in-the-making in Ty Hickson (Malcolm) and Tashiana Washington (Sofia). When on screen together, their rapport is so believable that I had to wonder how much of the dialogue was scripted and how much was the two of them riffing while the cameras rolled. When watching Gimme the Loot, its cinema verite style gave me the impression that director Adam Leon and his cinematographer, Jonathan Miller, set up in any park, alley or apartment in the Bronx where the cops weren’t around and just started filming. Indeed, there are several scenes (including a moment in which Malcolm swipes some flowers from a neighborhood stand) in which the incidentals appear to be regular bystanders just walking down the street.
Even if Gimme the Loot was made on the fly, the story and pacing of the movie never drag or feel amateurish. Clocking in at 79 minutes, the movie is brisk but full of great dialogue, tight direction and wonderful visuals. The director and his crew captured New York in the summer time and give an honest, realistic depiction of kids trying to make it on the street. Gimme the Loot earns its ‘R’ rating through the regular use of profanities (if you’re offended by the word “fuck,” this may not be the film for you). I suppose the filmmakers could have insisted not using the profanity, but that would have made Gimme the Loot less authentic.
I loved this film and it ranks near the top of all of the movies I’ve seen this year. When a DIY movie like this one falls in my lap, I gladly want to spread the word about it. Whether you rent it or wait to stream it on your computer, definitely watch it. I’m eager to see Hickson, Washington and Meeko in future roles. Likewise, I highly anticipate what Leon does next; he’s a talent to watch out for.
For more information about this great debut film from Leon, check out the Gimme the Loot informative website: gimmethelootmovie.com