User Reviews (5)

  • Larry Silverstein5 August 2015
    7/10
    Better Than I Expected
    Warning: Spoilers
    I wasn't expecting much from this film with its low rating, but the movie proved to be a rather intense dark drama that kept my interest from start to finish. All the lead actors here: Corey Stoll, Billy Crudup, Marin Ireland, and Yul Vasquez were quite solid in their roles, and there's a sharp screenplay from Noah Buschel who also directed the film.

    Stoll is excellent in the role of Bud "The Saint" Gordon, a retired boxing champion who's facing hard financial times after his restaurant, in New Jersey, failed. While trying to regain some status and notoriety, he naively and tragically re-enters the employ of a diabolical local mobster, who lures him in with the promise of opening another eating establishment. At the same time, Bud is helping to train a young welterweight contender for a shot at the title.

    Billy Crudup is terrific in the role of the local mobster J.J. Cook, and Yul Vasquez is absolutely chilling as Roberto, J.J.'s chief enforcer. Marin Ireland also gives a superb performance as Ellen, the long time girlfriend of Bud's who tries to keep their relationship together despite numerous obstacles.

    Overall, I found this to be more of a dark psychological drama than anything else, with strong acting, writing, and direction. Plus, as mentioned it kept me engaged throughout.
  • in198428 June 2015
    7/10
    Mocking Rocky
    7 of 10. As much as the tedious and overused music Rocky music gets used, having a serious critique of it and the use of music in training was definitely an unexpected bonus. While it creates a story about the underside of boxing and gambling, it does so by making it sexy, amusing, and dangerous.

    After Foxcatcher (2014), I was hoping more films like this would turn up. Going beyond the simplistic and deceptive underdog sports/fighter hero stories is very much needed even if it lacks the guaranteed easy box office cash. It lacks the "based on a true story" element, but definitely feels as if you're observing a composite sketch of something people have actually seen.

    The result is something along the lines of The Fighter (2010), with smart casting making up for lesser acting talent and an understanding for their setting and its visual/audio qualities making up for less production money.
  • charmanegilly25 July 2015
    9/10
    Best Indie Of 2015
    Did not see this one coming. I knew nothing about it. Billy Crudup is worth the price of renting alone. Even for Crudup, this is a new high. The dialogue and music are sensational. The minimalist long camera takes are refreshing and sublimely lit and framed. Marin Ireland and Corey Stoll and Yul Vasquez are wonderful. It is a little gem. They don't make movies like this anymore. It had some of that roaming quality of Elaine May's Mikey and Nicky. But it is also very tight in it's style. It is a comedy and a drama and a tragedy. An homage to old movies, but modern. It is very real, but also surreal. Just wonderful! If you love independent film you will love this movie I think.
  • trublu21518 October 2015
    8/10
    Strong performances and stylistic cinematography elevate this neo noir crime thriller
    Glass Chin tells the story of a failed boxer as he gets tied up in a blackmail scheme with an underworld figure. In what could be the anti-Rocky film, Glass Chin benefits from a fantastic cast and brilliant cinematography but fails to deliver anything remotely surprising or invigorating to the genre. Starring Corey Stoll and Billy Crudup, the film's performances alone are worth the watch. Stoll plays Bud "The Saint" Greene, a disgraced but talented fighter from New Jersey and plays the role brilliantly. The film is designed to showcase the talented actor's ability to complete inhabit a character without any hesitation or reluctance. Much to the credit of director Noah Buschel, the design and style of this film allows his actors to really expand their range and create dynamically layered characters. JJ is played by Billy Crudup with some heavy handed relishing of the gangster character clichés that sometimes plays to the film's advantage and other times feels like Crudup is trying to deliver the next great line of dialog in American cinema and it doesn't pay off. Despite this, Crudup delivers a very good supporting performance. Kelly Lynch gives a good but routine performance as a femme fatale of sorts that we've seen countless times in virtually every noir film. Elizabeth Rodriguez delivers a tremendous performance in a role that is typically underused and paper thin. Writer-director Noah Buschel has crafted a strong noir film that resembles 1930s thriller cinema with each shot bursting with a subtle beauty. Glass Chin is definitely worth a watch.
  • David Ferguson24 June 2015
    6/10
    Pride and Character
    Greetings again from the darkness. "Glory Days, well they'll pass you by" is a familiar line sung by Bruce Springsteen, and writer/director Noah Buschel brings that New Jersey sentiment to his latest film. We follow the travails of a former boxer struggling with the faded spotlight and his perceived lack of respect, while also seemingly oblivious to the maintenance his personal relationship requires.

    Corey Stall (familiar to "House of Cards" fans) plays Bud "The Saint" Gordon, a retired boxer whose self-named local neighborhood hangout recently closed its doors. Bud is trying to figure out how to reclaim the good life afforded by his boxing winnings, and is opposed to his girlfriend Ellen (Marin Ireland) taking a waitress job to help out. He agrees to train a young up-and-coming boxer prepare for a fight, while also agreeing to work with a shady shyster named J.J. (Billy Crudup). Bud and J.J. have a history, and it's soon pretty clear that J.J. is some type of offbeat (he owns a snow leopard) kingpin or mobster, who finds a financial and psychological edge in all dealings.

    Yul Vazquez plays J.J.'s lead henchman and has the "flashiest" (his character name is Flash) role in the film, although Crudup's character could have been even more fun if allotted more screen time. Also making brief appearances are Kelly Lynch, Katherine Waterston, and David Johansen. Of course, Mr. Johansen is a former member of The New York Dolls, and their song "Trash" plays a key role in one of Bud's earliest scenes working with Flash.

    There is an unmistakable class theme – the have's vs the have-nots. The two sides are clear in Manhattan vs. New Jersey, and J.J. vs. Bud. The most interesting part of the story is with Bud's attempt to figure out the harsh ways of life, even as we viewers recognize he requires no shades for his future. Although both themes are pretty familiar in the movie world, Mr. Buschel opts to only scratch the surface on both the faded hero and the mob world. Instead, it's more of a dialogue-driven drama that questions where the line in the morality sand is drawn.