Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Virgil Bliss

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Clint Jordan, who studied acting in prison, gives a gutsy but shaded performance as a career criminal paroled to a halfway house who lives in fear of the mistake that will land him back behind bars. Among the temptations littering his path are a drug addict who turns tricks to support her habit (throaty-voiced Kirsten Russell) and an impetuous roommate who invites him in on a robbery (Anthony Gorman). The story is hardly new, and it's sidetracked by a contrived threat from the hooker's pimp. But writer-director Joe Maggio, making his feature debut, shows a deep empathy for his characters, and the handheld digital camerawork, inspired by John Cassavetes, restlessly surveys them down to the smallest facial tic. 93 min. Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday, September 13, 7:00 and 9:00; Saturday and Sunday, September 14 and 15, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, and 9:00; and Monday through Thursday, September 16 through 19, 7:00 and 9:00; 773-281-4114.

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