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Film review — Paradise Alley

Sly was perhaps entitled to a little self-indulgence after the breakout success of Rocky, and the results very much betray the sense of a hungry talent desperate to get all his ideas on the page and on the screen. So, we get a schmaltzy period drama set in post-WWII Hell’s Kitchen, realised in all its ragged glory. And it’s kind of a mess of competing storylines, most of which are forgotten by the final reel, and with the main thread — the carny wrestling hustle that brings Stallone and his brothers the ticket out of the slums they so crave — not even getting out of the blocks until more than halfway in. But it’s clearly got heart, which counts for something. ★★★

Cross-posted from Letterboxd