Gimme the Loot won the Grand Jury Award for the Narrative Feature Competition at SXSW on Tuesday. Today, I attended a screening of the film to see what the Jury liked so much about the film. After seeing it, I still do not quite know.
Gimme the Loot follows a guy, Malcolm (Tysheeb Hickson), and a girl, Sofia (Tashiana R. Washington), who partner up to “bomb” parts of New York City. Bomb is a slang term for spray painting your tag or signature walls, bridges, etc. They are determined to be the top bombers in their part of the city. They are competing with another tag crew who goes back and defaces their work. The ultimate goal is to bomb the large apple that pops up at the Mets stadium every time there is a home run. This would give Malcolm and Sofia total respect and admiration among all the tag crews for a very long time. The film revolves around a day and a half to two days of following Malcolm and Sofia around as they gather the money and supplies to accomplish this.
The story of Gimme the Loot is not that intriguing. The story only has them doing one major bomb at the beginning of the film, and that is about it. The majority of the film is spent trying to get money together to pay the guy to get them into the Mets stadium, but I guess that is where the title comes from.
My major issue with the film is the acting. The two main actors (Tysheeb Hickson and Tashiana R. Washington) are okay actors, but there are different times in the film that better direction could have been given. Their lines do not flow freely, and the conversations are stunted at times. The bad acting is very apparent when Ginnie (Zoe Lescaze) comes on screen. It is painful. Once again, this might have been remedied by better direction. While one might use the excuse that these are newer actors, the argument is moot when you compare it to the job the certified non-actors did in Booster.
The absolute best part of the film is Meeko Gattuso who plays Champion. He swindles old people for their stuff and is a lock picker. Malcolm and Sofia enlist him to help steal some spray paint cans and also to help break into Ginnie’s apartment. While his appearance may be a little scary at first with his facial tattoos, he is hilarious and is in some of the funniest parts of the film.
Towards the end of the film, it tries to turn its two main characters from friends to maybe pursuing a potential relationship. This plot element may have worked better if it started slowly at the beginning, but it waited until the very last act to bring this up. It seemed unnecessary since the film needed to start rapping up.
I tried to give the award winner of this year’s SXSW a chance just like last year. But again, Gimme the Loot does not compare to the better films I have seen this year. Director Adam Leon is just beginning in his directing career, and he does have a good start on his filmmaking career. Unfortunately, the story and the acting in the film are not interesting or good enough to make this a great film.
I give Gimme the Loot 2 “cans” out of 5.