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Coney Island Cousins

average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Jun 22, 2024

Film Reviews
Coney Island Cousins
Directed by:
Al Padilla
Written by:
Al Padilla
Diana Sillaots, Upa InSpace, Janice Messitte, Rashad Bashir

Two cousins go through an unforgettable night in New York City.


After a long separation, Russian nurse Valeriya (Sillaots) is visiting her cousin Yulia (InSpace), who lives in Coney Island, New York. They soon find themselves in the apartment of Max (Gregory Korostishevsky), a wealthy friend of Yulia's. After a socialising accompanied by drugs and alcohol, Max ends up dead on his bed. The two cousins discover a laptop with details regarding his finances and decide to utilise his fortune to benefit themselves. However, things do not unfold as they plan.


With a narrative that takes place over the course of one night, this crime comedy feature has quite a plot: a rich guy passing away suddenly and two women attempting to take advantage of his fortune. Yet, the seriousness of this situation is overshadowed by the two cousins pretty much ignoring the deceased and instead talking about their lives and what they will buy with his money. Simultaneously, they relax in the apartment, they go for a walk, grab a bite to eat and invite Lucious (Bashir), a friend of Yulia's, to the apartment so he can give them drugs and the three of them enjoy themselves. Things get further complicated with the arrival of Marleen (Messitte), Max's mistress, and the action moves to other locations such as a bar where a comedy festival is taking place and a character ends up running through the streets of New York at night.


There is plenty of dark humour and awkward situations and also drama, which is primarily originated through Valeriya. Things are not going well between her and her partner, who repeatedly tries to phone her throughout the film. She is at a stage in her life where she appears to have lost her way.


Apart from the dead body, the relationship between Valeriya and Yulia is a main aspect of the story. Two estranged relatives meeting again and trying to rekindle their relationship. Valeriya is unhappy with her life, while Yulia is pursuing her acting ambitions. The two of them have fun together, they argue, however it is Valeriya's personal problems that are the main subject between them.


Looking at the performances now, Sillaots and InSpace are the ones who primarily provide the drama (both are also entertaining) and it is Messitte and Bashir that create the most amusing characters, thanks to their dynamic and occasionally over-the-top acting.


On the surface, this feature is a dark comedy about two women stealing a dead man's money. However, there is much more to it than that. It is a story about a reunion that ends up being life-changing. It explores support and self-discovery and it also touches on cybercrime.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Indie Feature Film
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