Scott has been a case of arrested development since his firefighter dad died. He spends his days smoking weed and dreaming of being a tattoo artist until events force him to grapple with his grief and take his first steps forward in life.
Judd Apatow’s films find the most awkward personalities among the public and bring their lives to the screen in very moving yet hilarious ways. His latest film in The King of Staten Island is no different either, as it projects the semi-biographical tale of Pete Davidson, and how he coped up with the various walks of life after losing his dad in a freak accident.
What’s the story about?
In one word, Scott (Pete Davidson) is a man you’d love calling a wastrel. There are very little good things that one can learn or gain from him, as he spends most of his time hanging out with friends, practising tattoo artistry and smoking marijuana. Scott’s life turned to the worse after his dad passed away in a hotel fire, and with his sister leaving for college, things are on the brink of going kaput. However, a funny incident in the neighbourhood changes the proceedings in various ways, forcing Scott to turn a new leaf in life and pay heed to his issues, one by one.
Working on the events with Pete and Dave Sirus, Apatow hits the right chords in almost every scene, leaving you with a smile on your face but also keeping the pain moving in the background. Instead of going for a chapter-like narrative, he picks you up and drops you into Scott’s world, allowing you to travel along with the characters by being the additional man in the room. There are bags of both funny and heartwarming moments all through the film, and it is amazing in how it is so perfectly paced with just enough time for us to stitch ourselves in. When things are already flying ahead in great fashion, Apatow drops the cherry on the cake with the utterly beautiful final stretch which leaves us in awe. Looking back at it, there was hardly a dull moment.
The King of Staten Island is blessed with not one but three straight-out terrific performances from Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei and Bill Burr. The trio simply rules the roost with natural yet power-packed portrayals of the tough characters who come together like pieces of a puzzle. In particular, Marisa Tomei is here with an act that is so good, I’d be surprised if it settles for anything less than an Oscar nomination.
Music and Other Departments
Apatow decides to keep it silent without any music in the background for most parts, but for a couple of scenes and the ending. On the other hand, this is a simple but effectively shot film that puts the focus right on the characters who matter alone.
The performances of Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei and Bill Burr are the biggest highlights, along with Apatow’s beautiful narrative that rarely skips a beat.
I felt that bits of the portions with Scott’s friends were overdone, but that is a negligible flaw and nothing more.
Did I enjoy it?
Of course, I did. This is my best film of 2020, so far. Something that I don’t mind watching all over again.
Do I recommend it?
Yes, go ahead and watch it. You might just love this one!