Chris Bongrine

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The Tenants Review


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On the list of actors that your average casting director is going to look at when casting struggling writers, it's a certainty that Snoop Dogg is nowhere close to being on it. And yet the filmmakers behind The Tenants, a dour and messy piece of work about dueling novelists inhabiting the same Brooklyn tenement in 1972, went ahead and did just that; and were justly rewarded for taking their risk. Snoop more than rises to the task, he fairly walks away with the movie - unfortunately, he doesn't leave enough behind for anybody else to work with.

Danny Green's film of the Bernard Malamud novel starts off with Henry Lesser (Dylan McDermott hidden behind decade-appropriately unfortunate facial hair and hideous eyewear), a writer of the most masochistic sort. The only resident left in a deserted, falling-down building in a seedy corner of Brooklyn, he's hacking away at his typewriter, day after day, trying to finish his third novel; the first one was well received, the second not so much. Occasionally the landlord (Seymour Cassel) comes by to bang at the door and offer him increasingly large sums of money to get out so he can sell the place, but Henry, a creature of habit, keeps begging for more time, saying he'll move after he finishes the novel.

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