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The King of Staten Island

By Christiana

 

From “Big Time Adolescence” to “The King of Staten Island”, Pete Davidson`s meteoric rise on the big screen is everything you are looking for. With the numerous SNL sketches shot before and after the lockdown, the release of his Netflix stand-up special, “Alive from New York”, and the premiere of his latest comedies, 2020 has certainly paved the way for a new era of Pete Davidson.

What is quite remarkable about his roles is how effortlessly he changes your mindset throughout the film. His contagious personality will end up making you fall in love with his charismatic presence over and over again, every time you watch him being like the first. You`ll come in for the laughs and spend the night, once you discover the depth of the story and the impact it had on its lead.  

 

Director Judd Apatow`s return might not have premiered in a conventional way, benefitting from a worldwide cinematic release, but it will definitely stay with us for a long time. “The King of Staten Island” is an ode to firemen and women who put their lives at risk each day to protect others. Apatow`s heartfelt dramedy was written to honour the memory of Pete`s father, Scott Davidson, a firefighter who lost his life during the 9/11 attacks.

Featuring a multitude of personal experiences and similarities to the real-life inspiration, the story follows Scott, a 24 year-old living with his mom, smoking weed and having a hard time being different from the rest of his family. The protagonist`s biggest ambition is to become a professional tattoo artist and own a tattoo themed restaurant in Staten Island.

 

Much like expected, Scott`s life will be affected not only by his attention deficit disorder and Crohn`s disease, but also by a number of bad decisions which will ultimately constitute the conclusion of the film. The film`s core, however, consists of a deeply impactful portrayal, a wild ride that takes on the highs and lows of life and what it means to live it to the fullest.

 

Constantly looking for a worthy father figure to follow after losing his dad, Scott even turns to his friends for advice - Oscar (Ricky Velez), Igor (Moises Arias) and Richie (Lou Wilson) - who are known for being a bad influence on him. As Bill Burr and Steve Buscemi enter the plot, Scott`s life gets turned upside down. The casting choice for them, as well as for Marisa Tomei (Scott`s mom) and Bel Powley (who plays Scott`s love interest and has actually known Pete for a long time in real life), was a guaranteed match with the characters.

 

Introducing his best performance yet, an equally humorous, surprising and tragic approach to loss, addiction and hope, Davidson shines from beginning to end. Although some supporting performances are not as solid and consistent as the lead`s, Pete makes a personal statement out of his role, keeping the standards as high as ever.

Being the heart and soul of the film works marvelously in terms of expressing and embracing such a sensitive situation. Ruled by dark humour, raw interior sadness and emotional back stories, “The King of Staten Island” represents Davidson`s first writing credit for film and Apatow`s most inspiring work to date.

 

The first hour felt quite static in comparison to the second one, but considering how vital it is to properly accommodate yourself with the situation, it`s a good overall length for the story and an even better perspective in which to be displayed. When the action hits home, it does it in the most hilarious manner possible, making a great use of Davidson`s acting abilities and genuine nature.

 

When talking about his acting, “Big Time Adolescence” should be taken into account for a number of reasons. The two characters played by Pete have very similar life stories and struggle to overcome a difficult life which involves spending every day smoking and drinking at home, trying to make a living for themselves. In contrast, however, they feel like very distinct overall experiences, thanks to the people who put them into perspective. Jason Orley`s film offers a lighter and more comedic approach to life, whereas Judd Apatow`s is the one to turn to for the emotional consistency.

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