The Yards

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Released 2000

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Movie Summary

Director:
James Gray
Released:
2000
Rating:
R

The Yards is the 1999 crime drama from co-writer/director James Gray (Little Odessa, We Own the Night, Two Lovers). Leo Handler (Mark Wahlberg, The Departed, Boogie Nights, Four Brothers) is a tough guy who just got out of prison for grand theft auto. He promises his mom Val (played by the great and underrated Ellen Burstyn, The Exorcist, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Requiem for a Dream) that he is going to shape up and be the son she truly deserves. But when he goes to Frank Olchin (James Cann, The Godfather, Misery, Eraser, The Rain People) and is denied a steady job due to lack of education, he takes up with hooligan Willie Gutierrez (Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator, Signs, Walk the Line) and gets into a whole bunch of trouble. Mark's cousin and Joaquin's fianc'e Erica Soltz (Charlize Theron, Monster, The Devil's Advocate) defends Leo, which therefore results in tragic consequences with Willie.

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Metacritic Score

  • 80

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    So strong and secure in its remorseless movement that you buy into what's happening, its people so firmly gripped in the vise of fate and their own character flaws.

  • 70

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    For all its incongruities, The Yards is a serious film that strives for a moral complexity and a textural density rarely found in contemporary dramas.

  • 50

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Entombs its characters so thoroughly in a prison of palpably predestined tragedy that one knows from the outset that the very worst that can happen most certainly will.

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