The King of Staten Island (2020)


“What are those numbers on your arm?” – Kelsey

“That’s the date my dad died.” – Scott

Number of Times Seen – 1 (15 Jun 2020)

Brief Synopsis – A twenty-something year old stoner tries to find meaning and purpose in his life yet no one around him manages to help point him in the right direction.

My Take on it – This is a movie that I’ve been interested in seeing ever since I heard about it because it deals with how family members deal with the loss of their firefighter father.

This is a movie that has so much more potential than is realized.

The overall length of the story is a bit excessive and this is largely due to the addition of far too many subplots that come across as being very uneven.

Pete Davidson does a wonderful job in the lead role and the fact that he adds his own voice to this character is great especially when one knows that Davidson himself is an orphan of a firefighter who died on 9/11.

The film loses its focus numerous times along the way yet in the final third, they regain their vision while putting together all of the various story lines.

The scenes that resonate the best here are the ones in the firehouse and they help the viewer get a much clearer understanding of the life of men and women in this profession and how they deal with loses in the past.

We get to see how these conversations and situations affect the main character and help influence him in his quest to find his way in life while also giving him a better understanding of who his father was.

The characters are developed quite well and help establish the way each of them deals with loss.

Despite coming across as being quite uneven in many aspects, the film gets the tone of this story right.

Given the fact that the story itself is quite dark and deep, the added humorous aspects into the story helps keep the tone more balanced and lighter especially given the very serious subject matter that they deal with here.

Bottom Line – Film with lots of potential that is hurt by an excessive length and some uneven subplots along the way. Davidson is great in the lead and is able to bring his own voice into his character who’s story is so very similar to his own. The film loses focus part of the way through but still finds a way to regain that focus when putting together all of the various story lines throughout the film.  The best scenes are the ones in the firehouse which help explain so much about the life of these men and how they can be so influential of the main character who needs to hear their stories in order to get a better understanding about his own father. The film does a nice job developing some of these characters in ways that help make things more powerful despite the unevenness of it all.  Really liked the way that this film stays away from making things too dark and dramatic and infuses some humor into things while never forgetting they are dealing with serious subjects.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Steve Buscemi (Papa) actually was a New York City firefighter before becoming a full-time professional actor. In November 2000, Buscemi told Salon interviewer Stephen Lemons that he was with Engine 55 in Manhattan’s Little Italy for four years in the early 1980s. He said that after about a year on the job he resumed acting classes but continued working for the FDNY while simultaneously acting in plays and movies. In 1984, Buscemi quit firefighting to pursue acting full-time, but after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, he returned to his old fire station to help search for survivors in the rubble of the World Trade Center. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (6/10)

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