Dito is growing up on the tough streets of Astoria, N.Y. in the 1980s and is convinced that his avoidance of prison, drugs and death is due to a variety of saints protecting him.
Since Mean Streets, the whiteboys-in-the-hood scenario has mainly centred on the pitfalls of crime and codes of honour. Though this features both, author Dito Montiel’s directing debut is more about growing up and leaving people behind. While ambitiously set in two time zones, the past comprises the bulk of Montiel’s autobiopic, with superb performances by Shia LaBeouf as his younger self and Martin Compston as his tearaway Scottish pal.
The framing device, as the older Montiel (Downey Jr.) returns to visit his sick father, is a little earnest, but the cast hit their notes precisely, lending the film an affecting air of reflection.
Ambitious coming-of-age drama, this may hit a false note here or there but the performances are magnetic.