For the Love of Money

Although the story in For the Love of Money is true, and spans over twenty years, the film is often confusing, and characters are introduced and then taken away in the blink of an eye. Though it boosts an interesting array of actors such as James Caan and Jeffrey Tambor, most of the more well-known actors have only small roles in the film, yet are billed as if they are the main actors in it.

The story starts in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1973. Isaac (later played by Yehuda Levi, TV's The Arbitrator) works in his family's restaurant and bar, which also doubles as a "Monte Carlo" (a casino) in the back. They've had some troubles with Tommy (Edward Furlong, The Green Hornet), a small-time gangster who likes to mess with people, and he tries to play a nasty trick on an employee of the bar, to which Isaac intervenes. Soon, the family closes the bar, and sends Isaac and his cousin Yoni (later played by Joshua Biton, Larry Crowne) to Los Angeles so that they will be safe. Isaac starts out working in a restaurant there, but soon realizes his future will be more lucrative if he buys his own restaurant, and he works with a real estate agent, Mr. Solomon (Jeffrey Tambor, Win Win), and is soon buying and selling restaurants for profit.

Isaac and Yoni open a mechanic's garage together, and are determined to live the "American Dream" without getting involved with gangsters. This all changes, though, when Micky (James Caan, Middle Men), a high-profile L.A. gangster, brings his car to the shop one day, and one of their mechanics does a rush job on it. Needless to say, Micky isn't pleased, and after a heated phone conversation, a hit is put out on Isaac. At the same time, Isaac's brother Levi (Oded Fehr, The Mummy Returns) finally gets out of jail, and comes to L.A. with big ideas for Isaac and Yoni, which would involve them getting into "illegal activities."

The beginning of the movie started off promising, and we later find out that the beginning is the end: Isaac and Yoni racing sports cars down a pretty street in L.A. We then flash back to Israel in 1973, and the story moves on from there. There were a lot of times when the story was very confusing, and nothing was explained more, even though the first-person narration was overall an asset to the movie.

Maybe see this film. The music in the movie was great, and definitely complemented the time periods that the film took place in; it was definitely one of the better aspects of the film. James Caan was great in his small role as a gangster, which shouldn't be a surprise because he usually plays "the bad guy" in films. The movie is based on a true story, and is supposed to show how Isaac and Yonni were able to achieve the "American Dream" without resorting to a life of crime, but they were so often mixed up in crime and with gangsters that the "lines" were very much blurred.

For the Love of Money will be playing in select NYC and L.A. theaters on June 8th, with plans to expand nationally, and is rated R with a runtime of 93 minutes. 2.5 stars out of 5.

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