Homosexual lust, prostitution and other sexual perversions; profanities and obscenities; and, violence

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This an adaptation of Hubert Selby Jr.’s wild and lurid novel about downtown life on the strike-torn Brooklyn waterfront, circa 1952. Set against New York City’s gritty, violent slums, the film is a disturbing slice-of-life look that centers around a union strike that’s affecting the whole neighborhood.

The strike is a device to focus on the lives of those who live in the neighborhood. Among the neighborhood’s sordid inhabitants are: Lewis, the shop steward of the union who is trapped in self-destructive homosexual lust; Tralala, a street prostitute and child-whore who denies herself any self-worth beyond the Johns she conquers — she tries to get by on guts alone; and, an Italian family, whose father is a striking dock worker trying to maintain respectability and family cohesiveness in the Brooklyn jungle, despite his pregnant and unwed daughter. No alternatives, or even escape from, these lifestyles are sought. Rather, the film inundates the viewer’s senses with the horrors of these dehumanized characters that are trapped in proletarian life, as it careens from one scene of astonishing violence to the next, leaving the viewer shell-shocked. In effect, the film focuses on the sinfulness of man from the first frame where a young soldier is beaten mercilessly for no reason by a gang of thugs to the final sexual assault scene with Tralala, breasts bared, her body bloody and brutalized. Like the novel, LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN is nihilistic and repulsive. It rates three stars only because of the photography, which is rich in dark tones, and the musical score, orchestrated with heavy accents of french horns and trumpets. The viewer is thus given the impression that the film is one of significance, when, in fact, the only thing significant is the lack of Jesus in the characters’ lives.

Quality: - Content: +3
Quality: - Content: +1