Virgil Bliss | Chicago Reader

Virgil Bliss

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 hand-held digital camera work, inspired by John Cassavetes, restlessly surveys the characters down to the smallest facial tic. 93 min.

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