“Story Ave” is billed as “a narrative by The Bronx,” which feels becoming — the borough is a significant character. Capturing in a slim side ratio, the director, Aristotle Torres, who expanded this debut function from a brief, appears as focused on capturing snapshots of a cinematically uncared for pocket of New York — its graffiti murals, its alleyways, its eating places tucked underneath elevated prepare tracks — as he’s within the plot. (The title refers to a fictitious subway cease alongside the 6 line.)
The protagonist is Kadir (Asante Blackk), a excessive schooler grappling with the latest unintended demise of his brother. His mom is grieving too, however is ill-equipped to assist him cope. With no sturdy parental determine, Kadir, who has critical inventive potential — photos of his brother are a signature — is examined by Skemes (Melvin Gregg), the chief of a graffiti gang, who tells him to commit a holdup.
However when Kadir chooses an M.T.A. employee, Luis (Luis Guzmán), on a abandoned subway platform, his would-be mark as an alternative invitations him for Cuban sandwiches at a spot downstairs. Luis bargains away the gun Kadir is carrying, and their eventual friendship offers the film its most assured and confidently performed scenes. (Torres wrote the script with Bonsu Thompson.)
The movie is cleareyed about Kadir’s inventive values and the doubtless harmful outcomes of his choices. (Skemes is revealed to have made the same selection between the artwork world and gangs.) “Story Ave” is marred by late revelations that seem designed, in a studio-notes form of means, to make clear motivations. What’s unstated — and what’s seen — does sufficient.
Not rated. In English and Spanish, with subtitles. Operating time: 1 hour 34 minutes. In theaters.