Watch Illtown

  • R
  • 1996
  • 1 hr 43 min
  • 5.4  (486)

Illtown is a gritty crime drama released in 1996, directed by Nick Gomez and starring Michael Rapaport, Lili Taylor, and Adam Trese. The film is set in the impoverished city of Elizabeth, New Jersey, where the characters struggle to survive in a world where crime, drugs, and violence are commonplace. The film opens with a prologue that provides background on one of the central characters, Dante (Rapaport). We see him as a young boy, wandering around a seedy apartment building and eventually finding a bag of drugs hidden behind a wall. This event sets him on a path that leads him to become a small-time drug dealer and enforcer in his teen years.

As an adult, Dante is deeply involved in the criminal underworld of Illtown, a rundown section of Elizabeth. He is the go-to guy for local drug lord Duff (Trese), who relies on Dante’s muscle and toughness to keep his rivals in check. Dante is also involved in a passionate but tumultuous relationship with the troubled Irene (Taylor), a drug addict who cares for him deeply but cannot escape her own demons.

The main plot of the film revolves around Duff’s attempts to expand his drug business into neighboring territories, which puts him in conflict with a rival gang led by Marty (Kevin Corrigan). Dante is caught in the middle of this conflict, forced to choose between loyalty to his boss and his own moral code.

The film is built around intense, realistic performances from the three lead actors. Rapaport, in particular, delivers a standout turn as Dante, conveying his inner turmoil and inner conflict with nuanced precision. Taylor brings a raw vulnerability to the role of Irene, while Trese’s Duff is a suitably menacing presence, a cold-blooded career criminal who has no qualms about using violence to get what he wants.

The film also benefits from its evocative, downbeat setting. The rundown buildings and bleak streets of Illtown are beautifully shot by cinematographer Jean-Yves Escoffier, creating a sense of unrelenting despair that matches the tone of the film perfectly. The soundtrack, which features music from artists like Portishead and Massive Attack, adds to the atmospheric quality of the film.

Despite its strengths, Illtown did not receive a wide release when it debuted in theaters in 1996, and it remains a relatively obscure film. However, it has garnered a small but dedicated cult following over the years, thanks in part to its uncompromising portrayal of the criminal underworld and its memorable performances from its leads.

In summary, Illtown is a gritty, intense crime drama that explores the lives of those caught up in the seedy underbelly of a rundown city. Featuring standout performances from its central trio of actors, evocative cinematography, and a haunting soundtrack, it is a memorable and powerful film that deserves greater recognition in the annals of crime cinema.

Illtown is a 1996 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 43 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.4.

Where to Watch Illtown
Illtown is available to watch free on Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Illtown for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 43 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.4  (486)