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Nick Gomez does good

By Ray Pride

JULY 20, 1998:  Nick Gomez' " Laws of Gravity," made for $42,000, was one of the best directorial debuts in years, energetic and idiosyncratic even while derivative of Scorsesian street sagas. His latest, "illtown" is beautifully shot by Jim Deneault, whose black-and-white images for "Nadja" and grimy color for "River of Grass," already impressed. The pallette of hot, smoky hues should transfer well to the small screen. In all departments, "illtown" is indelibly handsome, and boasts a cast of indiefilm stalwarts-Michael Rapaport, Lili Taylor, Kevin Corrigan, Adam Trese-running through Gomez' tale of mid-level drug dealers losing their cool, told in the style of the garish bubblegum hyperrealism of Hong Kong movies of the last decade. Gomez also gets down the particulars of the look and feel of contemporary central Florida, but some viewers will get lost in his variations on "Paradise Lost," as we realize we are watching two bands of renegade fallen angels exterminating each other with great violence and little joy. It's a bold grab for the mythic, but delirium is a hard thing to sustain.

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