Two brothers—one a high school senior, the other an ex-con trying to go straight—struggle to keep their balance in the melting pot of upper Manhattan’s Latino neighborhood in this impressive debut feature (2002) by writer-director Eric Eason. Scorsese’s Mean Streets has become the template for all such fraternal low-life dramas, and while this one lacks the earlier film’s narrative drive, Eason captures with graphic realism the male rivalry, manic tensions, and social aspirations of a New York ethnic enclave. The confused younger brother and the shadowy drug-dealing father who abandoned the family may border on caricature, but Franky G.’s performance as the protective yet combustible older brother is as real as it gets. 78 min.