Debut novelist Benioff pitches his tent next to a New York drug dealer in the grueling final hours before he goes off to begin a prison term.
There was nothing unusual about the bust. The Feds knocked polite as you pleased on Monty Brogan’s door, showed their warrant to Monty and his live-in Naturelle Rosario, and within minutes had found enough to put him away for seven years. And when you come right down to it, there’s nothing very unusual about Monty—who started dealing back in his school days at Campbell-Sawyer but still dreams his childhood dream of growing up to be a fireman—or of his last day and night of freedom either. There’ll be the requisite tender moments with Monty’s father and Naturelle; the obligatory scene in which Monty reminds Uncle Blue, his supplier, that he hasn’t rolled over on him yet and doesn’t intend to; Monty’s appeal to his old buddies to take care of the pit bull he rescued and nursed back to health and trust four years ago; and of course the after-dinner drinks with Monty’s nearest and dearest. What makes Benioff’s take on this tale so special is his deep trust in the ordinariness of it all, and the persistence of his supporting cast in thinking, as even your best friends will, that this night is all about them. Monty’s friend Frank Slattery can’t forget the two million he made in nine minutes of bond trading just that morning. Wallflower Jakob Elinsky, an alumnus of Campbell-Sawyer who’s still stuck there as an English teacher, goes into a panic when he sees Mary D’Annunzio, his lippiest student, outside the bar that’s been appointed to kick off Monty’s last round. And both Monty and his father have ideas of their own.
As funny and sad as a John Cassavettes movie, but without all that midlife-crisis yammering.