(director/writer: Christos Massalas; cinematographer: Konstantinos Koukoulios; editor: Yorgos Lamprinos; music: Gabriel Yared; cast: Elsa Lekakou (Nelly), Stathis Apostholou (Markos), Raphael Papad (Rudolph), Salim Talbi (Mohammad), Christos Politis (Locksmith), Foivos Papadopoulos (Barbara/Jonas); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Bertrand Gore/Amanda Livanou; Dark Star Pictures; 2022-Greece/ in Greek with English subtitles)
“An uneven crime drama.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The debut feature from Greek filmmaker Christos Massalas is an uneven crime drama that shows some signs of life because of decent performances and colorful sets, but its story is too unimaginative. It’s part of the New Wave Greek cinema.
This Broadway is named after an abandoned theater in Athens, which is named after the legendary Manhattan street. Broadway is a place where pickpockets and other petty criminals hang out, as does an active caged monkey. The group of outcasts act as if they were a family.
Markos (Stathis Apostolou) is the charismatic leader of a pickpocket ring who hang out in the Broadway. His boys are Rudolph (Rafael Papad) and his boyfriend Mohammad (Salim Tabi), around for comic relief, and also the mysterious associate of a local crime lord, Jonas (Foivos Papadopoulos), who has been badly beaten and fears the mob boss is after him. Markos shelters the runaway Nelly (Elsa Lekakou) after she runs away from her abusive rich parents (mom was a former ballerina and her stepfather is a ruthless thug who is after her) and works as a stripper on the pole at a strip club. Markos rescues her when she gets into a jam at the club and lets her stay in the Broadway,
Nelly has a romance with Jonas while Markos is in prison for a year. Jonas dresses as a woman and changes his name to Barbara to escape recognition by those after him. When Markos gets out of prison, the disappointed lovers scheme to poison him.
No back stories are given, so things remain murky about all the characters.
The film booms when there’s dancing and music, otherwise it seems to be lacking a good story to go with all its queer theatrics and noir atmosphere.
The end comes with a big reveal that clears up a lot of things even if it comes a bit too late to make amends for its prior lapses.
REVIEWED ON 5/21/2023 GRADE: B-