Enter the metaphysical underworld of new york city __New York City has a secret. Deep in its underground tunnels hides a city of the homeless, called Scum City. In it, a Kid has survived the abuse and torment of the world. When he meets The Old Man, who has come to Scum City from a kingdom deep within the earth, everything changes. He has come to find the five nobles who have been lost and return them to the Paradise deep within. He has a map, and a crystal - when smoked - grants clarity of vision needed to accomplish the mission. The Old Man had a bodyguard named Goliath, who is now committed to violence and murder and the capture of the Map and the Crystal. The Kid believes in the Old Man and becomes his protector. He must also protect Julia, a young girl left alone in the tunnels, while finding a way to decipher the Old Man's secrets, safeguard the map, and find a way for himself and Julia that leads to Paradise. This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.
Top customer reviews
This entire project is a great achievement for a first time film maker. Every shot is stolen (which gives it a gritty, manic energy), and the cast is well chosen and does great things with the material, especially those in smaller roles who tend toward a quirk or an odd choice in their performance that suggests a life outside the situation you're seeing them in. This, I think, is what makes Urchin so good. It's epic in a way that most street level independent features aren't and there is so much left unsaid about that characters that you can imagine this being just a small glimpse into a much larger world. I left the theater wanting to know much more.
The protagonist is a young homeless boy who lives with a group of squatter mystics in "Scum City." They smoke a magical crystal (crack, apparently) and their leader promises them a better life in the underground realm of Shambala -- which he claims is an actual physical location that he can lead them to as soon as they bring him enough money (many digs at cult leaders, like charismatic evangelicals, which I found insightful and amusing). The boy raises this money by purse snatching and selling crack. Eventually, he steals a big bag of cash, thereby forcing the leader to "put up or shut up" . . . but can he deliver?
There are a few interesting subplots -- some of more relevance than others. A few seemed more of a distraction from the story, though. For instance, one gangster's rambling and apologetic soliloquy -- while valid -- is easily twice as long as it should've been, and what was up with "Mister Big"??? The mob boss is some scrawny doofus in a karate uniform (complete with nunchaku hung round the neck) who appears only on the screen of a laptop . . . and when things go wrong, the laptop turns into a tiny spaceship type thing that flys around the room shooting everyone while Mister Big chortles. As they say on the Internet: OMGWTF??? As the only Sci-Fi element of the entire story, it was horribly out of place and downright asinine.
Even though it wasn't technically accurate, I really liked the improvised weaponry the boy constructed from household gadgets. The ending was a bit odd, though. After repeated allusions to the possibility that the boy had been molested/raped in the past, the story ends with him seemingly spending the next few years alone with some creepy old professor (who just quit his job after a mid-life crisis) on his yacht (presumably in the capacity of "cabin boy").
A good editor could've made this a 5-star movie. Too bad this wasn't done. Several scenes should've wound up on the cutting room floor -- you can always show them in the special features section; and it DEFINITELY needed an alternate ending. After being a grubby and dour urchin throughout the entire flick, in the final scene he's freshly scrubbed with curly locks and a big smile -- not even recognizable as the same person. Three stars ***
At times, the story-line can be a little hard to follow (multiple character stories interact), but the film isn't about plot twists and turns. Urchin is about tone and atmosphere - when watching it, you feel like The Kid, everything is scary and you don't have the answers, but damn if you'll figure out a way.
Lastly, the acting is some of the best I've seen in an independent film in a long time.