Executive produced by Jim Jarmusch, Explicit Ills weaves together several stories of people living in a poor Philadelphia neighborhood to show how grief brings them together. It has its local premiere tonight at 7 at the Cleveland Museum of Art as part of the Museum's "Friday Night First-Runs" series. Here's our review.
Explicit Ills (US, 2008) With its extended pans of city streets and interweaving storylines, this Mark Webber-directed drama has elements of a Jim Jarmusch flick. That’s probably why Jarmusch signed on as an executive producer. Explicit Ills, however, is hardly up to Jarmusch standards. Though beautifully filmed, it has so many meandering storylines that by the time they come together at the end, you probably won’t care. The film centers, for the most part, on Babo (Francisco Burgos), a precocious young kid with a struggling single mother (Rosario Dawson). Babo befriends Rocco (Paul Dano), and the two start playing chess together on a regular basis. That is, until Babo suffers an asthma attack that sends him to the hospital. The other storylines revolving around a starving artist and a pair of drug addicts seem so unrelated that by the time they’re woven together at the film’s end, it just seems forced. ** 1/2 (Jeff Niesel)