Acquainted New Jersey Crime Story Is Dirty, Glittery, & Thrilling


  • River Gallo impresses with a robust efficiency and brings depth to the character of Ponyboi.
  • The movie goes past clichés usually seen in crime motion pictures, providing a recent perspective on acquainted narratives.
  • Ponyboi showcases the significance of queer tales and their skill so as to add new layers to storytelling.



In Esteban Arango’s dreamy crime drama Ponyboi, all of it begins with a drug deal gone fallacious. Ponyboi (River Gallo), an intersex intercourse employee employed at a 24-hour laundromat, finally ends up with a briefcase full of money and his violent pimp Vinny (Dylan O’Brien) after him on Valentine’s Day. On prime of that, Ponyboi has simply came upon that his conservative Salvadoran father, who kicked him out of the home some years in the past, is on his deathbed.

All through one darkish New Jersey night time, Ponyboi searches for security, forgiveness, and connection, as he and a slew of different low-level criminals stumble by way of a mounting pile of mishaps. It is a story we have seen earlier than — The Safdie Brother’s Good Time involves thoughts as a direct predecessor — however because of Gallo’s sharp screenplay and Arango’s intimate path, Ponyboi goes past cliché for one thing extra profound.


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Ponyboi’s Forged Delivers Nice Performances, However River Gallo Is The MVP

Ponyboi Temp Poster


  • Ponyboi is a refreshing tackle against the law drama
  • River Gallo brings nuance to their character
  • The movie is profound and intimate

  • Ponyboi has just a few clichés, however not sufficient to deliver the movie down

O’Brien completely captures the scummy vibe of his no-good character, bouncing between the completely different shades of Vinny with ease. Typically solid because the boy subsequent door sort, O’Brien’s roles of late have been extra nuanced, notably his insidious influencer in Not Okay. Right here, he chews up the surroundings with insidious verve, whilst he is wooing his girlfriend Angel, performed by Victoria Pedretti. From the penciled-in brows to the leopard print fur coat, Pedrettii utterly disappears into her Jersey trash function, and it is a delight to look at.

Each second has added weight as his father’s sickness lingers within the background, the thought of forgiveness floating round as Ponyboi seems to be for a approach out of the tangled mess.

Nonetheless, it is Gallo, who makes use of they/them pronouns, that gives Ponyboi with its beating coronary heart. Gallo originated the function in a brief movie of the identical identify, which served as their USC thesis. As a characteristic, Gallo elevates the script past mere crime drama because of Ponyboi’s layered identification. They use each side to infuse their efficiency with confidence that shines like a beacon of sunshine within the dank Jersey night time. Each second has added weight as his father’s sickness lingers within the background, the thought of forgiveness floating round as Ponyboi seems to be for a approach out of the tangled mess.

Ponyboi Rises Above Its Crime Clichés

Ponyboi‘s largest weak point occurs to be the driving pressure of the plot — menacing Italian mobsters and cheeky intercourse employees are simply a few of the archetypes that really feel instantly acquainted. Even Murray Bartlett’s Bruce, a sizzling cowboy and, for a short second, Ponyboi’s guardian angel, feels acquainted and, finally, too good to be true. The crushing weight of actuality is all too actual of a reminder, and Gallo’s unflinching perspective on an intersex intercourse employee greedy for a greater life is a transferring portrait.

Far too usually, crime motion pictures nonetheless simply fall prey to the male gaze, all shiny gunmetal and bruised and bloody fists. Ponyboi finds a approach to really feel recent even when indulging in these very tropes. It would not reinvent the wheel, and it should not should. What it does show is that queer tales, as a rule, add new layers to narratives which were carried out earlier than.

Ponyboi premiered on the 2024 Sundance Movie Competition within the U.S. Dramatic Competitors part.


Esteban Arango

Dylan O’Brien , Victoria Pedretti , Indya Moore

River Gallo

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