• Released
  • January 20, 1998
  • Drama
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The New York Times

By Stephen Holden
The dialogue and the ensemble acting maintain a near-perfect pitch.
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Los Angeles Times

By Kevin Thomas
Mike Armstrong's relentlessly downbeat script allows Demme to develop an ensnaring camaraderie coupled with a dark destructiveness that recalls Eugene O'Neill.
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Village Voice

Under Ted Demme's accomplished direction, the film unfolds with a kind of ruthless simplicity, observing, rather than stating, the neighborhood's intricate social connections.
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Austin Chronicle

By Marc Savlov
Leary, Demme, and screenwriter Mike Armstrong have come up with a brilliant, harrowing portrait of misplaced loyalties and savage valor that may be one of the best character-driven ensemble pieces to come around in some time.
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San Francisco Chronicle

By Peter Stack
Director Ted Demme (with a terse script by Mike Armstrong) keeps it darkly funny while exposing raw nerves in a buildup to unexpected tragedy.
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Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
There is a whole genre of films about childhood friends still living in the old neighborhood and going down the drain of crime and drugs. Few of them capture the fatigue and depression, and the futility, as well as this one, in which the characters hold on to their self-respect by obeying the very rules that are grinding them down.
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By James Berardinelli
With fresh dialogue and a willingness to show his protagonists in a less-than-favorable light, Demme has found a way to make this entry memorable.
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Entertainment Weekly

By Lisa Schwarzbaum
But where would these lads be without the pop-culture-happy language of Quentin Tarantino to fuel their bull sessions? Nowhere, that's where.
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TV Guide

By Maitland McDonagh
The fewer movies like this you've already seen, the better this one will play.
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Christian Science Monitor

By David Sterritt
The story has some chillingly suspenseful episodes, although it's marred by overfamiliar themes and weak dialogue.
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71 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.