RevFest 2013 – Gimme The Loot

Gimme The Loot

Directed by: Adam Leon

Starring: Ty Hickson, Tashiana Washington

Three and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright

Gang warfare, coming of age, blossoming romance, comedy, farce, heist. Gimme The Loot is nothing if not packed with flavours, but too many ingredients can sometimes make for a confused dish, particularly if the chef does not quite have the experience to juggle them all evenly. Writer/director Adam Leon’s feature film debut is a relaxed but sweet and funny story about a pair of young New York graffiti artists trying to pull their biggest tagging job, hampered with hiccups.

Malcolm (Ty Hickson) and Sofia (Tashiana Washington), a couple of constantly squabbling best friends, are caught up in a graffiti war with a rival gang. In an attempt to one-up their enemy on their home turf, they devise a plan to scrawl their tags over the Mets’ baseball grounds. Their day-long journey to gather the cash to make it happen is filled with set backs which cause rifts between the two who are always playfully insulting each other but you can sense the affection between them.

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Getting off to a shaky start, with the inexperience of the cast sometimes painfully obvious, Gimme The Loot and its lead actors eventually find their rhythm. As the cast appear more comfortable on-screen, the story becomes more enjoyable and engaging. There are some truly special moments in this film, mostly in scenes in which Hickson and Washington are required to walk and talk. Like Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy, the chemistry in these simple dialogue driven scenes are a highlight as they riff like Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, only far more charmingly so.

Eventual secure footing aside, though, the film suffers a slight identity crisis, not quite knowing what it wants to be or where it wants to place its focus. The blossoming relationship feels almost like a last-minute inclusion, rarely hinted at until the final moments. Not quite as snappy as it could be, Gimme The Loot still draws you in with its authenticity, genuine heart and undeniable charms.

Gimme The Loot screens as part of Revelation Perth International Film Festival on July 13.

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