The film follows two young graffiti artists as they try to do the impossible; tag the giant apple at Citi Field, or Shea Stadium as they call it, in New York. This has been tried many times over the past 20 years, but Sofia (Tashiana Washington) and Malcolm (Ty Hickson) believe they are the ones who will finally succeed.
Gimme the Loot is a sweet story of two friends running across New York City, pulling scams to try and raise the money they need to make their dreams come true. The acting may leave a little to be desired at times, but in all, the film is a charming story of friendship and loyalty.
This is not the first film for either of the lead actors, but at times both Hickson, Washington and the rest of the cast feel as though they are waiting to be fed lines, rather than allowing the dialogue to spring from their situations. That said, there are genuine moments within the film, and these are mostly when Hickson and GIRL are interacting one on one.
The catalyst that sets this duo on a voyage across New York City is one of fame and legend. It has been 20 years since someone first attempted to graffiti the apple at Citi Field/Shea Stadium, and none have succeeded. Malcolm and Sofia decide that doing this would cement their names as street artists and gain them respect from rival gangs. As they try and raise the money they need to make this happen, it seems that fate is against them; they are mugged, have their shoes stolen and their clothes tagged by rival gangs, but they are not deterred. Morality does not come into play in their quest and they see no wrong in stealing from others to make their dreams come true. That said, these are still endearing characters and the audience is rooting for them to succeed.
Perhaps the fault for the wooden acting lies with director Adam Leon. The film feels focused on dialogue and profanity, and if this was the primary focus then it stands to reason that acting would suffer. However the simple story and endearing characters go some way to make up for this.
In all, Gimme the Loot is a portrait of a certain section of New York society. In their quest for respect, Malcolm and Sofia discover the good and the bad in their city and ultimately, they discover one another. Underneath the slightly underwhelming performances is a sweet story of loyalty and friendship that left the audience at Cannes smiling. This was a light and fun choice for my final film at Cannes that reminded me that great stories can break through on screen troubles.