Steel City John Heard has toted up so many years playing sleazebags — he was great as a desperate corrupt cop on The Sopranos — that most… Steel City John Heard has toted up so many years playing sleazebags — he was great as a desperate corrupt cop on The Sopranos — that most… 2007-05-25 R PT95M Drama America Ferrera John Heard Thomas Guiry Truly Indie
Movie Review

Steel City (2007)

MPAA Rating: R
FAMILY TIES One son finds solace in the arms of America (Ferrera) in Steel City , where a pair of tormented brothers deal with their…
Image credit: David Garcia
FAMILY TIES One son finds solace in the arms of America (Ferrera) in Steel City, where a pair of tormented brothers deal with their father's incarceration
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: May 25, 2007; Rated: R; Length: 95 Minutes; Genre: Drama; With: America Ferrera, John Heard and Thomas Guiry; Distributor: Truly Indie

John Heard has toted up so many years playing sleazebags — he was great as a desperate corrupt cop on The Sopranos — that most people probably don't even remember how he started, back in '70s whimsies like Chilly Scenes of Winter, where he specialized in playing sweetly confused sensitive guys. Even in his middle-aged rotter phase, Heard has had a quality of buried innocence, and in Brian Jun's quietly absorbing and incisive Steel City, that quality shines through his performance as the steel-town father of two troubled young men — brothers in torment — who has been tossed into the slammer pending a charge of vehicular homicide. (We know that there was a car accident; what we don't learn until later are the telling details.) Even at his most still, Heard is a master at letting you read his wounds.

So is everyone in Steel City. It's a drama in which even the most minor character registers as a full, complicated presence — a person who deserves his or her own movie. Thomas Guiry, as Heard's guilt-stricken younger son, is like Ryan Gosling with less moody Method fuss, and America Ferrera, as the girl he falls for, reminds you what a delicate actress she was before she cartoonified herself on Ugly Betty. Raymond J. Barry, another '70s vet, plays Heard's sinewy, battle-scarred loner brother with a kind of tensely private coded force. Steel City could have used more rhythmic drive, but if Jun keeps weaving together characters this compelling, he could be a major film artist in the making. B+

Originally posted May 22, 2007 Published in issue #936 Jun 01, 2007 Order article reprints