Illtown

on January 16, 1998 by Kevin Courrier
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Nick Gomez, acclaimed for both "Laws of Gravity" and "New Jersey Drive" by critics citing a new talent on the rise, has really come a cropper on "illtown." This couldn't-be-more-appropriately-titled tale of drugs and vendettas is told in such a languid style, with such an emphasis on spiritual anomie and heroin-induced nodding, that the audience is in danger of nodding out. To get the idea, try to imagine Antonioni directing a Tarantino script.
   Michael Rapaport ("Metro") plays veteran drug-dealer Dante, whose inferno consists of wanting to have a baby with his girlfriend Mickey ("I Shot Andy Warhol's" Lili Taylor), but the business-being what it is-has sucked him in with its violent ways. Matters become complicated when a betrayed former business partner returns with the heart of an avenging angel. His name (naturally) is Gabriel. "illtown" flies a lot of metaphoric flags, but never once finds a flagpole. Starring Michael Rapaport, Lili Taylor, Kevin Corrigan, Isaac Hayes and Tony Danza. Directed and written by Nick Gomez. Produced by David L. Bushell, Larry Meistrich and Donald C. Carter. A Live Entertainment release. Drama. Rated R for pervasive strong drug use, violence and language, and for brief nudity. Running time: 97 min.
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