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Last Exit to Brooklyn Movie Review

leigh stephen tralala jason

Welcome to Hell, circa 1952. The Korean War is still going on, as we can see from the young men who depart from the nearby Navy yards. Closer to home, a factory strike has been going on for six months, with no end in sight. Harry Black (Stephen Lang) has been stealing from the strike funds so that he can have an extramarital affair with his gay lover (Alexis Arquette as Georgette). Fired by his boss Boyce (Jerry Orbach), Harry's dumped by the lover, makes a pass at a kid, and is nearly beaten to death by a street gang for same. Meanwhile, Jennifer Jason Leigh, with her usual courage for taking huge artistic risks, is Tralala, a hooker who entices tricks with fat wallets into the clutches of the violent gang. But Tralala is picked up by one soldier who falls in love with her and, hoping that his wallet will belong exclusively to her, she plays his girlfriend for a few days, receiving nothing but a “My Darling Tralala” letter for her efforts. She invites a bar full of rough trade to have sex with her; at this point, the book and the movie part company, although both are so horrific you'll wind up feeling like you've been hit by a truck. Leigh, light years away from the wholesome waitress she played in 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High, is absolutely riveting as the lost Tralala. Last Exit to Brooklyn is tough, grim material, filmed on location by a West German film company. Director Uli Edel's other credits include Christiane F., Body of Evidence, and Tyson, and screenwriter Desmond Nakano went on to write American Me and White Man's Burden. Based on the 1964 novel by Hubert Selby Jr., who appears briefly as the driver of a car.

1990 (R) 102m/C Jennifer Jason Leigh, Burt Young, Stephen Lang, Ricki Lake, Jerry Orbach, Maia Danzinger, Stephen Baldwin, Peter Dobson, Jason Andrews, James Lorinz, Sam Rockwell, Camille Saviola, Cameron Johann, John Costelloe, Christopher Murney, Alexis Arquette; D: Uli Edel; W: Desmond Nakano; C: Stefan Czapsky, Stefan Czapsky; M: Mark Knopfler. New York Film Critics Awards ‘89: Best Supporting Actress (Leigh). VHS, LV, Letterbox

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