Trees Lounge

Ubiquitous screen presence Steve Buscemi makes an impressive writing/directing debut in this depiction of small-town alcoholism. Buscemi plays a man who, surrounded by an ex-girlfriend and an alienated family, still has the debris of a better life around him. Though its overall presentation occasionally feels like a work for the stage—Buscemi was a performance artist before appearing in every independent American film of the last six years—many scenes reveal the director's gift for creating a mood through subtle means. Buscemi has also surrounded himself with a cast of talented character actors (Kids' Chloe Sevigny is particularly notable), who flesh out their surroundings nicely. But it's his portrayal of a man for whom alcohol has stopped blurring things sufficiently that makes the movie memorable. Toss back a few and enjoy.

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