[critical] THE YARDS

Has his release from prison, Leo Handler returns home with one goal : stay in the right path. He finds work at his uncle Frank, boss of the Electric Rail Corporation, who reigns on the metro in Queens. His friend, Willie, introduced him to the methods of the company. Leo discovered the hidden face of the successful operations of his uncle. Witness of blackmail, corruption, sabotage, and even murder, it is at the center of an explosive situation : he holds a secret that made him the target of the most ruthless family in town… his own.

Author’s Note


Release Date : 01 November 2000

Directed by James Gray

Film American

With Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron, James Caan

Duration : 1h55min

Original title : The Yards

Trailer :

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Review a movie (which was my first James Gray), that we had enjoyed, and rediscover the emerging talent and raw of the author, to let himself carry by the grace of the staging, and finally even more to love this film, by its dryness and hardness melee of darkness, is it possible to make an objective criticism ? As usual, I want to say no.

It was a long time indeed that I had not seen THE YARDS. A foggy memory of family tragedy put forward by the intermediary of a railway company hitching a ride in me for some time and the desire to lighten this part of my memory I would be teased. And a new viewing did not dust it off and step up in very beautiful way my reminiscence of the aged.

What a joy indeed to rediscover all that has been the trademark of the producer in recent years in a raw form and not yet polished : the strength characteristic of James Gray, incipient, was already well established but in the middle of building also.

Let’s start with the story. Of course, as always, the tragedy in the purest sense of the term. James Gray crystallized by a scenario that is simple, fluid, dry, taut and linear, is the essence of the genre : the family relationships. Generally accredited and affiliated with the kind police officer and criminal, the tragedy finds its place here in an exemplary manner. Without grandiloquence, the director set his story in a kind of ” banality “.

In fact, no large organization mafia, charismatic leaders, of second expensive surly but simply lives in common and to the relative importance. It is not found in the upper echelons of the crime. We are witnessing the unfolding of the story to the scale of little people. Thus, Gray focuses on the development of his story in a realistic shape. It is about the violence of family relationships, the most violent criminal in itself.

And the force of the realization lies in this : to create interest in a story of a common family. They allow themselves to wear and take by the hand by James Gray during this dive in a domestic sphere of some kind. The power of the narrative, emotions and issues is such that you can only follow with attention the events.

James Gray illuminates the film noir.

But if the film captures and draws as much, it is, of course, thanks to the perfect mastery and achievement. James Gray illuminates the film noir. Never the darkness was also highlighted and magnified. Everything is calculated, precise, and tense. The association of a photo sublime and characteristic, and of framing simply astonishing creates a perfect alchemy, and a hypnotic visual sticky and visceral.

The film is then measured by the intensity of its history and beauty. But the flashes of genius of staging are also participating. The scene of the hospital, where Mark Wahlberg is found hidden in front of a curtain, off-white and where the only rhythm and sound that emerges is, then, his breathing jerky is a rare power by the intermingling of the beauty of the plans, the work on the sound and the tension of the moment story. Similarly, an incredible scene, when the burglary of the apartment where Wahlberg lies, uplifted by a work on the sound once again superb, is a lesson of grace, while violence-damped tension suffocating and deafening silence.

What we have here is a film of which the classicism raged, the need to master absolute and the intensity of the madness, but it should be noted, however, the pace weak at times, the supporting roles and not all the time quite in-depth and the dialogues not really exciting. Fortunately, these few negative points are diluted in a set rather seductive and mastered. James Gray we book so a black film, purely tragic, the beauty of the fierce and the intensity of the feverish, while retained, and contains about from beginning to end to deliver a good dose of fun for lovers of the genre.

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