Strange that the Bloomberg era hasn’t witnessed more films like Kill the Poor, in which the power struggles of a microcosmic Alphabet City roach motel represent the gritty, still un-co-opted melting pot of 80s NYC — as filtered through current nostalgia for that far off land. Adapting Joel Rose’s novel, Taylor pays less attention to the decade (certain elements are wildly anachronistic) than he does to the estranged crisis of protagonist Joe, a young man who with green card wife and expecting baby in tow moves, as a delusional reclamation of tradition, to the currently bombedout neighborhood where his grandparents originally settled. But, when newly elected apartment board president, Joe is forced by cliché neighbors — slutty punk, gay gossip, black artist, academic pseudo-Marxist — to evict hood legend Carlos and his troublemaking son, the film becomes an (unintentional) allegory of traumatic gentrification. The nonlinear narrative structure, though hardly inventive, helps sustain interest.
Opens January 6 at IFC Center