Gravesend

Nashville Scene

DIRECTED BY: Salvatore Stabile

REVIEWED: 03-02-98

It's hard to say which is more outlandish--the plot of Gravesend or the movie's origins. For this 16mm mean-streets indie about four Italian-American boys who accumulate a trunk-full of dead bodies during one long night in Brooklyn, 19-year-old NYU dropout Salvatore Stabile used a three-man crew, two hot-wired lights, and a $5,000 inheritance from his gramma. He then went on to earn completion funds, a Seattle Film Fest screening, a rave review in Variety, a "presented by" credit from Oliver Stone, and a two-picture deal with Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks. Certainly, Stabile's story is more original than his movie's amalgam of Cassavetes, Scorsese, Gomez, Tarantino, and Kevin Smith; even though none of the hothead ultra-V is as shocking as it wants to be, Stabile does get the utmost out of unprofessional actors, cramped-hallway sets, and the F-word. And since Gravesend is a far more convincing piece of schlock than Stone's early-'70s Seizure, you never know what this kid might have in store.

--Rob Nelson

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