Karma Local | Chicago Reader

Karma Local

Bombay-born Darshan Bhagat directed, cowrote, coproduced, and stars in this 1998 debut feature about a New York subway vendor unwittingly drawn into a gangster's perverse and dangerous game. It's very much the handiwork of a recent film-school grad, enthusiastic and inventive but lacking in story sense; Bhagat lets most of his actors ham it up, though he himself is thoroughly believable as the befuddled, harassed innocent trying to cope with a big, bad city. Emory Van Cleve's gritty, detailed cinematography, jazzed up occasionally with optical effects, pays homage to Scorsese's Mean Streets, a film whose narrative drive largely eludes Bhagat.

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