Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities
There's nothing more dangerous than an innocent man.
The Yards is a thriller set in the vast New York city subway yards. After being imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, Leo Handler (Mark Wahlberg) just wants to get his life back on track, so he goes to the one place he thinks will be safe: home.
Leo takes a new job with his highly connected and influential Uncle Frank (James Caan) and is reunited with his long time friend, Willie Guitierrez (Joaquin Phoenix), his cousin, and Willie's girlfriend, Erica (Charlize Theron). But in the legendary yards, a place where his family has toiled for generations and where his uncle now pulls the strings, safe is not how they do business. Unwittingly, he's drawn into a world of sabotage, high stakes pay-offs and even murder. And the secret he discovers will make him the target of the most ruthless family in the city... his own.
Now, in the name of justice he'll have to do everything in his power to take them down.
Also starring Ellen Burstyn as Val Handler, Faye Dunaway as Kitty Olchin, Robert Montano as Hector Gallardo and Garry Pastore as Detective Tomassino. Written by James Gray and Matt Reeves, directed by James.
Theatrical propaganda posters
Target demographic movie keyword propaganda
- Film crime drama family murder train subway revenge violence
Cinematic intelligence sources
Special Agent Matti
Innocent man must clear name and save self from machinations of criminal friends.
Even though it's one of the most overdone stories in Hollywood, this genre can still come up with some interesting stuff. The Yards keeps your attention by not allowing you to know who will betray Leo until the very end. Of course, the baddies all get caught (they're criminals: they have to get caught) while the goodies both lose everything (they committed incest: they have to lose). Erica has to die because she's the ultimate prize, and a woman, while Leo just sends his friends to jail because he's the ultimate hero, and a guy. Not that I am saying that Hollywood is a repressive, patriarchal system... oh, all right, I am. Men are bastards.
Mark continues his acting career as he started, with strong roles in good films (even in The perfect storm he upstaged the star). In The Yards he is the star and no-one manages to outshine him. Charlize is a good supporting actor while Joaquin... well... Joaquin is Joaquin. I have never been a fan of Joaquin because he's the same person in every film. Anyone seen Gladiator lately?
The actor who comes closest to out-performing Mark is Faye: she has the power of attraction that draws your eye even though she's just a husband-hunting housewife. The big hair, the glasses with large lenses, the cardigan over the shoulders, the time-worn expression, the unflappable ennui... it's all perfect.
The Yards is a nice little film which you can see at any time: it's your call.
Media intelligence (DVD)
- Featurette: Behind-the-scenes
- Commentary: James
- Subtitles: English captions
Security censorship classification
M (Medium level violence, medium level coarse language, adult themes)
115 minutes (1:55 hours)
Not for public release in Australia before date
DVD retail: 23 January 2002