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847 Ratings

The Yards

Directed by James Gray
United States, 2000
Crime, Drama, Thriller


New York-born writer-director James Gray makes movies that are at once lyrical, psychologically astute, and as hard-boiled and riveting as a Warner Bros. 1930s genre picture. The Yards is Gray’s melodramatic and thrilling second feature, a story of family bonds and city corruption.

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The Yards Directed by James Gray
James Gray, who grew up in Queens, derived the plot both from things he had heard growing up and from real political scandals of the era. But the emotional fury, deriving from conflicting loyalties, a sense of betrayal, and frustrated romance, is entirely Gray’s own. Every character in the film is sustained by family bonds, and every one of those characters is driven by those bonds to self-destruction.
September 25, 2012
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Like many a great film that was not revered upon release, it’s perhaps easier with hindsight to see how The Yards is very much the cornerstone of Gray’s cinema… You could call it the ultimate Queens film. The film’s setting is surely one of the keys to its grandeur: only in a world so close to Manhattan, yet ever so far, could a movie about warring subway contractors take on the scope and intensity of a Viscontian epic.
December 14, 2011
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Ultimately, the visuals may be too responsible for the resonance; Wahlberg and Theron are ciphers who do little more than recite their urban patter. But Gray approaches the vaguely ethnic universe he’s limned with genuinely compassionate curiosity, even if he hasn’t fleshed it out enough to consistently provoke ours. (The film’s most precious moment might be a perfunctory conversation about Walbaum’s between Burstyn and Faye Dunaway’s aging sisters.)
May 03, 2011
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