I entered Asphalt City at last year’s EnergaCAMERIMAGE festival with nothing but morbid curiosity. Having engendered some rank responses from its Cannes premiere and not secured any known U.S. distributor, Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s film had the right kind of bad-object energy one needs at the jetlagged start to their week in a small Polish city. (Or just the comfort I personally get from a Brooklyn-shot feature featuring two Club Random guests.)

I walked away boasting complicated, fascinated enthusiasm: nearly every second is ridiculous and never boring, and it doesn’t not deserve to play at a cinematography festival––having the most cinematography counts for something. Starting and ending with a blatant homage to The New World before thanking Terrence Malick in its credits; Michael Pitt relaunching a troubled career by billing himself Michael C. Pitt and asking Tye Sheridan “you believe in Heaven, bro?” with a mile-thick Noo Yawk accent; Mike Tyson’s genuinely affecting turn as far and away the sanest character; Sean Penn looking like the American Vincent Lindon and almost surely adding the line calling a Russian goon “Putin”; needless to say this had a stronger Bozo Who Kind of Owns vibe than any movie in years.

Accordingly I’m happy it’s getting a release next month from Vertical Entertainment, the title changed from Black Flies like a 2013 VOD movie hoping to launch to the top of iTunes listings with an A-led title. A new preview sells Asphalt City more as a thriller than the shaggy character piece it is in practice, though David Ungaro’s DP work gets ample highlight.

Find the preview below ahead of Asphalt City‘s March 29 release:

A young paramedic is paired with a seasoned partner on the night shift in New York revealing a city in crisis. Discovering the chaos firsthand, he is tested with the ethical ambiguity that can be the difference between life and death.

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