As indie-prods go, I applaud a modest little pleasure called Loosies and its writer-star Peter Facinelli, the handsome, charismatic actor whose work as a regular in the Twilight vampire franchise and the Nurse Jackie TV series in no way prepared me for his considerable accomplishments here. The character he has invented for himself is Bobby, a New York City pickpocket who wanders through the city pretending to be a Wall Street stockbroker. He’s charming and witty, his widowed mother is on relief, and he has to make ends meet to keep her in enough change to feed her addiction to church bingo. Bobby makes a big mistake when he steals the badge of a ferocious cop (Michael Madsen), bringing a load of trouble to his fence (a shabby looking Vincent Gallo, playing to type). Stirring the stew even more, Bobby discovers his ex-girlfriend Lucy (Jaimie Alexander) is pregnant with his baby. With two worlds crashing like fun-fair bumper cars, Bobby becomes a moving target in a big city where he was once free to practice his skills incognito. After a lot of soul searching, he decides the time has come to re-evaluate his mistakes and assume some adult responsibility. Unexpectedly in love with Lucy and intrigued by the idea of becoming a parent, Bobby finds himself in the unprecedented position of an outlaw who wants to go straight with a fist aimed at his head from every direction. Bobby is indebted to the vicious loan shark played with such poisonous relish by Mr. Gallo because he holds a death threat over his head to pay off his dead father’s gambling debts. His goal is to break free. But first he has to pull one more heist that could cost him his life.
Loosies are single cigarettes sold at a bar of the same name where Lucy works, but very little seems loose in this small film composed of interesting, offbeat characters, energetic camerawork and brief, telling moments that reflect deeper aspects of Bobby’s relationship with the world around him—a little girl sees him robbing multiple dupes in the subway and gives him a knowing wink; Bobby teaching two Boy Scouts how to shoot craps. It all adds up to a three-dimensional profile of a loser desperate to fill in the gaps of a wasted life who discovers, in the process, an inner decency he didn’t know he had. Mr. Facinelli is a good actor with solid credits but no stardom. After Loosies, that could change. He’s also a careful writer, as this debut script proves. The film was directed by Michael Corrente, who adds a few visual touches of his own, like a clever montage of Bobby’s frenetic sleight-of-hand pickpocketing techniques. In a surprise finish that turns the tables on his adversaries, Bobby finds an unexpected ally in his mother’s new lover, a dull, middle-class jeweler named Carl, played with subtle power by Joe Pantoliano. Not a great movie, but satisfying enough to hold attention and win your affection—a rare blue-plate combo on today’s overcrowded menu of movie chaos that sticks to your ribs and stays there.
Running Time 88 minutes
Written by Peter Facinelli
Directed by Michael Corrente
Starring Peter Facinelli, Jaimie Alexander and Michael Madsen