Directed by Noah Buschel
After going down in the fifth round, boxer Bud Gordon bowed out of the limelight. Now residing in a fixer-upper apartment in New Jersey with his girlfriend, Bud longs for his former Manhattan glory. In an effort to get back in the game, he makes a deal with a crooked restaurateur. But quick schemes rarely bring easy pay-offs and as the consequences of his business negotiations unfold, Bud has to make a choice between his integrity and his aspirations.
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★★★½ review by Blain LaMotta on Letterboxd
What a tough, fascinating neo-noir this is! Concise and meticulous in its craft, it develops in an almost clinical fashion with static long takes, slow pans, and precise tracking shots. Corey Stoll, who is unbelievably good here, plays a former boxer named Bud. He used to have it all, but his career ended after a devastating lose. He then dabbled in the restaurant business, which again, ultimately failed. Living in a cozy apartment with his girlfriend, he goes into business with an entrepreneur known as J.J., played with structured menace by a never better Billy Crudup. In aiding in criminal activity, Bud gets to taste riches and get one step closer to retrieving the glory he once had. Even though J.J. is known to own just about everyone he goes into business with. Bud also decides to train an up and coming boxer in his free time too. Having a foot in two different worlds only manages to breed tragic consequences however. A decision has to be made: embrace the high life, or live comfortably in its shadow. Filmmaker Noah Buschel spins this yarn with an almost philosophical touch. It is all about character. The focus is tight and specific, but also manages to tackle big themes. The outcome is predictable to say the least, yet the way getting there is definitely unconventional. If you are looking for some remarkable acting, and simple, sophisticated storytelling, then this is the gem for you. Just know, the only viable direction from the top is down.
★★★★ review by Filipe Furtado on Letterboxd
The space on Glass Chin has a flat artificial quality, all stagebound sets that help isolate gestures and faces as part of a large abstract moral inquiry. Part of it is the obvious shoestring budget, part is how meticulous designed everything is by director Noah Buschel. Most of the action is kept offscreen because everything just exists to get a reaction from Corey Stoll (who is terrific as is most of the cast). Every shot matters and add up to the larger inquiry moving towards a weight that feels earned in a way this sort of post 60s genre exercise rarely achieves.
★★★★ review by Waldo on Letterboxd
Very natural acting, script and assured direction. Corey Stoll is an actor that feels like a role away from big movie stardom. He's great as the ex boxer/manager with guy's problems. He has a great girlfriend and a nice apartment but he wants bigger and better things. He gets involved with some scumbags and things get complicated. A throwback to the 70's crime films, just the way I like them. Thanks for the tip Blain.
★★★★ review by Otie Wheeler on Letterboxd
Noah Buschel is a New York high school drop out turned monk filmmaker, and this neo-noir with the generic cover was written in two weeks, filmed in eighteen days, and shot partially on set because Buschel prefers building his own sets to shooting on location. He prefers it. There's nothing generic about this guy. Every shot in Glass Chin was storyboarded; the character of Roberto was not only written for Yul Vazquez, it was storyboarded to look like Yul Vazquez. And then it was played by Yul Vazquez.
What is Glass Chin, really? It's a personal film about a former boxer who gets framed by gangsters, a metaphorical prophecy of what would happen next to the director. It's rigorous, meticulous, and intensely schematic, a movie where every character represents an aspect of the protagonist, and colors symbolize how far from home he is. It's a poverty row Zen Buddhist true crime whodunit about how there's no self, no permanence, maybe not even a universe, just the mind, one mind, which we all share.
Who done it? We all done it, says the director.
★★★★ review by Alex Kittle on Letterboxd
So mesmerizingly shot/lit it would be easy to watch it on silent, but then I'd have missed out on the great, slightly too-smart-for-me dialogue.
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