Yeah, once again, the story *is* familiar. When we see Leo get out of prison and decide to work with his friend Willie keeping city officials happy, we know there’s going to be trouble. But again, as in Two Lovers, the way the story is told made the whole thing seem so fresh and suspenseful. Great performances, lovely cinematography. All the performances are just really great… loved Mark Wahlberg in this film and Charlize Theron is both beautiful and tragic. But Joaquin Phoenix was the real revelation for me. Gray just seems to be able to elicit these really amazing performances from him somehow. It’s a rather quiet film where people don’t really say a lot to each other and mostly whisper when they do. And despite this, it felt really Shakespearean to me in terms of the classic themes of betrayal and jealousy and such. Seriously, I can’t understand the hate for this film.