Propelled by a tremendous sense of setting, an equally compelling soundtrack and empathic central performances, Gimme the Loot is a good movie that might have been even better.
Here the viewer is immersed in lesser known parts of New York City so much so that the setting becomes a character unto itself, one that is equal parts vibrant and intimidating, with surprises aplenty. Few movies use location to hold the audience’s attention as well as Gimme the Loot, a fact that is all the more obvious when considering Writer/Director Adam Leon’s wide angle shot selection. He successfully makes us feel part of New York City, part of his character’s lives.
Vibrant dialogue does the same.
So do the lead performances. Tashiana Washington (Sofia) and Ty Hickson (Malcolm) play their characters as naturally as any actor can, choosing to make these people feel average instead of exceptional. The approach works. It makes us empathize with both characters.
Especially Sofia. Washington skillfully captures her vulnerability underneath the character’s brash exterior.
Meeko Gattuso (Champion) is also very good. So is Zoe Lescaze (Ginnie).
The soundtrack does wonders for this film. Faster music might have energized us, but Leon wisely opts for classical R&B, thereby giving Gimme the Loot an emotional, a vulnerable, tone.
The picture is not without flaw, however, the most notable being theme. While it is about cross-cultural relations, it undershoots the idea, never drawing extended conclusion, never offering a clear message.
It does the same with character development, insofar as neither Sofia nor Malcolm change much, or seem to learn lasting lessons.