Malcolm and Sofia, two determined teens from New York City, are the ultimate graffiti-writers. When a rival gang buffs their latest masterpiece, they must hatch a plan to get revenge by tagging an iconic NYC landmark, but they need to raise $500 to pull off their spectacular scheme. Over the course of two whirlwind, sun-soaked summer days, Malcolm and Sofia travel on an epic urban adventure involving black market spray cans, illicit bodegas, stolen sneakers, a high stakes heist, and a beautiful, stoned girl whose necklace is literally their key to becoming the biggest writers in the City.
First time director Adam Leon proves he is an exceptional ideas man with Gimme the Loot, a look at street life in New York City from the perspective of two graffiti artists. Smartly written and performed, all it lacks is a story to bring all the parts together and while the film starts out with purpose by the end its all a lot of hot air.
The film follows Malcolm (Ty Hickson) and Sofia (Tashiana Washington), two young street artists who come up with a plan to grafitti the New York Mets apple, a part of the stadium previously untouched by anyone. Unfortunately they need money to get anywhere near the apple and getting ahold of it is going to be a struggle for the two as they hustle and steal their way across New York.
Funded by contributors on Kickstarter, Gimme the Loot doesn’t look cheap, every visual is wonderful as Leon uses the views and landmarks of New York to add colour to this portrait of two kids living off impulse. The film is entirely about what they want and how they want it now, a popular lifestyle for kids their age, something you rarely see in films.
As Malcolm and Sofia do questionable things for their moment in the sun we learn more about who they are as people but when the end comes around the film flips these characters on their heads, it changes their desires and needs making for a utterly boring ending that leaves you wondering what the point of it all was.
Washington and Hickson are great as the two troublemakers on a journey and you should expect to see them in more films very soon if people are smart but they find themselves treading water in Gimme the Loot as they look towards the horizon where something better might be waiting for them. Until then they are stuck in a film trying to be real, trying to emulate real life but never really being interesting enough without its story to make it all worth it