Virgil Bliss Review

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Virgil Bliss is released from prison determined to have a normal life when he gets mixed up with psychotic Manny. He falls in love with Junkie Ruby but Manny seems to always be around to thwart his modest dreams.


It’s a pity that a film so deeply rooted in the realist tradition should blow so gaping a hole in its credibility with such an unashamedly melodramatic ending.

Dedicated to John Cassavetes, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, Joe Maggio’s low-budget but highly promising debut employs a cast of newcomers and digital video. Both factors work in its favour, as director of photography Harlan Bosmajian imparts a lived-in feel to his views of New York, while Clint Jordan and Kirsten Russell excel as the paroled con and the dope-addicted hooker who survive his naivety and her cynicism to forge a relationship that might just see them through life.

However, the presence of Marc Romeo’s caricatured pimp and Jordan’s envious halfway housemate (Gorman) ensures the onset of a tritely tragic resolution that debases the honesty of the more intimate, more intriguing human drama.