Movie Review – Sollers Point
It’s never stated or shown but Sollers Point is a reference to Sollers Point Road, which is one of the main drags through Dundalk, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore. The main character lives on Sollers Point Road presumably and has most likely been raised in that area. Writer-director Matthew Porterfield is also from Baltimore and depicts the Charm City with a strong sense of authenticity. Porterfield also wields this slight, character study with a gritty realism, as he deals with lower class or impoverished people, touching upon the seedy side of that landscape, but make no mistake, this isn’t The Wire.
McCaul Lombardi (Patti Cake$ and American Honey) is the centerpiece as Keith, a 20-something convict. His exact, legal troubles are never explained, but he is at the beginning on house arrest in his father’s place. He has an ankle bracelet. He’s had the bracelet for a year and he’s a week or so away from getting it taken off. Once he does, he goes around to people he knew before being in prison. He talks about finding a job and trying to get back on his feet. It doesn’t take long though for him to start selling drugs, which is presumably the crime for which he was arrested.
According to the Pew Research Center, the national average for recidivism is 43-percent. According to the National Institute of Justice, in over half the United States, the recidivism is about 70-percent. Since this film is about Keith trying to take classes to learn the trade of air conditioning or find odd jobs with recycling metal or working a lawnmower, this movie could be a comment on the idea of recidivism and issues surrounding ex-convicts trying to readjust to life outside prison, but Keith comes across as mostly lackadaisical or not as committed to reforming his life. His mindset feels somewhat apathetic.
Jim Belushi (According to Jim and Saturday Night Live) co-stars as Carol, the father to Keith. Carol comments early on how Keith is apathetic and doesn’t get out of bed until late in the day. Later, Keith proves his father right by showing up late to his HVAC class. Yet, Carol is supportive of his son, but there’s only so much he can do. Plus, given that Carol is a widow, there seems to be some kind of issue, maybe resentment, over Keith’s mother being dead. Keith knows he’s a disappointment, but there’s no examination of what went wrong or where it went wrong. There’s an implication that Carol has been tough on his son, but we see nothing in the film that would justify Keith’s behavior, particularly at the end.
Otherwise, the film just follows Keith as he drifts from moment to moment. He has several encounters with various women. There appears to be two that are more significant than the rest. One involves a possible girlfriend named Courtney, played by Zazie Beetz (Atlanta and Deadpool 2). Keith being incarcerated prompted their break-up, but she has a dog of which he wants custody and could have been his dog prior to incarceration. The other woman is Jessie, played by Everleigh Brenner. She’s a stripper that works at a club that Keith frequents. He also has sex with her occasionally at a cheap motel nearby. He appears to have feelings for her or at least he tries to spend more time with her. Unfortunately, his relationship with either woman isn’t developed enough for us to care or understand either.
Keith then picks up a girl at art school who tags along with him. His relationship with this third girl ends up going nowhere and she disappears or walks away. There’s no explanation if that was supposed to mean anything beyond that this guy can charm or attract women with very little effort. Lombardi does have a swagger that could be considered sexy, if scruffy. With his lean, tight body and enchanting, blue-green eyes, in another context, he could be a model or something equally attractive.
Porterfield also throws in a subplot involving some white guys who look a little too old to be gangsters, but they are thugs who try to pull Keith back into the drug game. For some reason, these thugs are upset over Keith’s separation or distancing from them. These thugs proceed to attack Keith or go after him anytime they see him. It adds a level of excitement to an otherwise inconsequential, slice-of-life movie.
Rated R for language, drug content and sexual material.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 41 mins.
Available on Amazon Prime.