Nothing to Lose

Director: Eric Bross
Screenwriters: Eric Bross, Tom Cudworth

Institute History

  • 1996 Sundance Film Festival


Eric Bross’s stunning directorial debut is set in the mean suburban streets and neighborhoods of New Jersey, where the story follows three close, working-class friends as they make their way down the bruising highway of life, headed toward the first exit to the American dream. The most suave, smooth, and adventurous of the three is Ray (Adrien Brody), who bides his time working as a slick shoe salesman until he can start his own business. He sees his father, Ray, Sr. (Frank Vincent), an underemployed laborer, as something of a failure, and when impending marriage to his sweetheart and family pressures begin to overwhelm him, Ray decides on a shortcut.

What transpires is a vibrant and emotional exploration of loyalty, loss, and love. Nothing to Lose is a fluent and deeply detailed family saga which soars above the familiarity of the genre, largely through the integrity of the story and the bravura performances of the cast. Adrien Brody melts into his role with an assurance, instinctiveness, and physicality that are charged with tension; at the same time, he possesses the sad-eyed, lonely look of a vulnerable wise guy in the making. His weariness is palpable as his conflicts rise and his options fall. Nothing to Lose turns into a visceral ride as Ray and his friends come to terms with their obligations.

— Lawrence Smith

Screening Details

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