In the crime drama THE YARDS, a man recently released from jail returns home only to find that the biggest hurdle preventing him from making a clean start is his own family.
Leo Handler (Mark Wahlberg of THE PERFECT STORM) has just been released after serving four years in jail. Having taken the rap for his cohorts, Leo now desires a clean start and returns home to his mother, Val (played by Ellen Burstyn). She encourages him to get a job with his uncle, Frank (James Caan), who owns the Electric Rail Corporation in New York City. Frank offers Leo a chance to go to school and learn the trade, but Leo senses the need to earn money immediately and decides to work with Willie (Joaquin Phoenix) instead. Willie also works for Frank, although his aspect of employment deals with keeping competing companies down. Leo, seeing the fast cash, is interested, but tells Willie that he can’t get into any trouble. Willie reassures him and asks Leo to come along and observe him doing business.
Leo also observes the relationship Willie has with his cousin Erica with whom he has past ties. Erica tells Leo that Willie has discussed marriage, and Leo begins to get hints that the kind of life Willie would be providing for Erica may not be the best. He learns this lesson when he gets into trouble while conducting “business” with Willie and soon ends up a fugitive, wrongly accused and even double-crossed by some of his own family. Eventually, Leo must make a decision that will change the politics of the rail companies and his bond with his own family forever.
THE YARDS has a cast of extremely talented actors whose ability is almost wasted by insufficient character development. This, along with a dark story that tries to reflect the mood of movies like THE GODFATHER, seems to take the audience into a whirlwind of sadness, met with a redemptive but depressing end. Containing plenty of foul language, violence, nudity and other questionable elements, THE YARDS merits extreme caution for adults.
(HH, C, LLL, VVV, S, NN, AA, DD, M) Humanist worldview with some redemptive elements; 50 obscenities, 7 profanities, 1 racial epithet, 1 obscenity said in Spanish, & obscene gesture; strong violence including man stabs other man with knife, man scuffles with policeman, knocking him unconscious with a billy club, man slaps woman violently, men wrestle with one man falling down stairs, depicted wound on face, depicted blood on side of man’s head resulting from a gunshot wound, man causes woman to fall down stairs when he pulls her, & depicted corpse after implied man throws girl over bannister from second floor; woman seduces man but is stopped & discussion of implied discovery where cousins were "caught together"; cleavage, woman in underwear, rear & upper male nudity (not in a sexual context), & upper female nudity; alcohol use & drunkenness; smoking & man is seen taking prescription drugs; and, revenge, theft & lying.
THE YARDS focuses on the story of Leo Handler, an ex-convict played by Mark Wahlberg of THE PERFECT STORM. After serving four years in jail taking the rap for his cohorts, Leo now desires a fresh start. He returns home to his mother, who encourages him to get a job with his uncle, Frank, owner of one of the subway corporations in New York City. He offers Leo a chance to go to trade school, but Leo’s urge to earn money immediately pushes him to work alongside Willie, an employee of Frank’s, instead. Willie‘s aspect of employment deals with illegally keeping competing companies down. Leo, seeing the fast cash, goes from an observer to a participant, but becomes a fugitive, double-crossed by some of his own family. Eventually, Leo must make a decision that will alter his bond with his own family.
THE YARDS attempts to achieve a mood similar to THE GODFATHER. It has a cast of extremely talented actors whose ability is almost wasted by insufficient character development. Despite a depressing but somewhat redemptive end, THE YARDS merits extreme caution due to plenty of foul language, violence and other questionable elements