New York Times - 10/20/2000
"...[THE YARDS] impresses as one of the few films in recent years to dare to tread in the sacred shadow of Francis Ford Coppola's GODFATHER movies....Mr. Phoenix's [performance is] incendiary..."
Movieline's Hollywood Life - 11/01/2000
"...[Wahlberg] builds tremendous empathy....An utterly gripping cinematic adventure..."
Premiere - 11/01/2000
"...Gray's straightforward storytelling is a tonic....[His] actors do full honor to his vision..."
Sight and Sound - 12/01/2000
"...Meticulously crafted....THE YARDS relies on the subtlety and intensity of the performances..."
Rolling Stone - 11/09/2000
"...[Phoenix] makes a compelling, complex villain....[CAAN] brings in mythic notes from THE GODFATHER..."
Los Angeles Times - 10/20/2000
"...THE YARDS is so strong and secure in its remorseless movement that you buy into what's happening....Gray's splendid, self-effacing cast performs as an ensemble, but the film's rightly dominant presences are Caan and Dunaway..."
Premiere - 03/01/2006
"This tragic tale of a punk from Queens who's released from prison and looking for honest work has a hypnotic feel to it, and nice performances by a stellar cast..."
Director James Gray's second film is a dark and atmospheric exploration of the corruption that lies underneath both the surface of a New York City railway manufacturing company and the family that runs it. Mark Wahlberg turns in an impressive and quietly intense performance as Leo, a 24-year-old who has just been released from prison and is in need of a job. Leo gets a job working for his uncle Frank (James Caan) in the railway business, where his best friend, Willie (Joaquin Phoenix), shows him how to bribe politicians by day and sabotage the competition's work by night. Almost immediately Leo and Willie run into trouble when they go down to the railway yards to damage their competitor's work. Leo is soon on the run, hunted for a murder that Willie committed.
Gray's THE YARDS shows the obvious influence of Francis Ford Coppola's seminal GODFATHER films as he emphasizes that his characters inhabit two worlds, one that follows the shifting morality of their businesses, the other centering around traditional family life. Aided immeasurably by its outstanding cast, stylish visual sense, and a lush, dissonant score, THE YARDS is a gripping and intensely moving film that fully lives up to its own ambitions.
Description by Buena Vista Home Entertainment:
The Yards Director's Cut
Hot young stars Mark Wahlberg (THE PERFECT STORM, PLANET OF THE APES), Joaquin Phoenix (GLADIATOR, SIGNS), and Charlize Theron (WAKING UP IN RENO, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES) power this riveting crime thriller! Released from prison after taking the fall for a group of his friends, Leo Handler (Wahlberg) just wants to get his life back on track. But when he takes a job with his powerfully influential Uncle Frank (James Caan -- THE GODFATHER TRILOGY, MICKEY BLUE EYES) and reconnects with his old friend Willie (Phoenix), Leo finds himself unwittingly drawn into a world of sabotage, high-stakes payoffs, and even murder! Then, he discovers a secret that makes him the target of the city's most ruthless family -- his own! With memorable performances from Faye Dunaway (THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR) and Ellen Burstyn (REQUIEM FOR A DREAM), the excitement builds as Leo does everything in his power to take them down in the name of justice!
New York City |
Organized Crime |
Theatrical release: October 20, 2000 (NY/LA).
Filmed on location in Queens, New York.
James Caan's character, Frank Olchin, was inspired by director James Gray's father, who was involved in a New York City racketeering scandal during the mid-1980s.
The climactic street fight between Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg at the end of THE YARDS was very real. Phoenix stated in an interview that the two mostly improvised the fight and actually beat each other up.
THE YARDS was originally scheduled for release in the fall of 1999 but was held back until a year later.
The San Diego Film Critics Society's Best Body of Work award for 2000 went to Joaquin Phoenix (GLADIATOR, QUILLS, THE YARDS).
Joaquin Phoenix was named Best Supporting Actor by the Broadcast Film Critics Association and by the National Board of Review for his work in GLADIATOR, QUILLS, and THE YARDS.
The San Diego Film Critics Society awarded Joaquin Phoenix with Best Body of Work for his performances in THE YARDS, QUILLS, and GLADIATOR.
Elvis Mitchell of the New York Times named THE YARDS one of the 10 best films of 2000.