As someone who loves independent film, John Marco Lopez’s Paradise City is a standout. It not only attempts to put an indie spin on the New York crime drama, solely reserved by the big studios but offers a fresh take on its story while giving off charm to spare.
Paradise City is the story of three men who find they’re in way over their heads as they get caught in a political conspiracy. Kareem Savinon is Jimmy Colon, a street-wise cop with a questionable past. To redeem himself and his reputation, Jimmy goes undercover and becomes a member of a local mosque and a disciple of the second lead character, Brother Nazim (Hassan Bradley).
“…needs to find terrorists. Unfortunately, Nazim appears to be the virtuous man he claims to be.”
Jimmy is assigned to the mosque in hopes of uncovering a terrorist plot led by Nazim and his followers. Nazim is not your stereotypical Muslim—stereotypical in the eyes of the feds, that is. Nazim extolls a message of love and peace. He knows there’s a mole in his ranks and dares him to find lawlessness and malice in his message… or bombs laying around for that matter.
Lastly, there’s Alistair (Chris Petrovski), the heir of a billionaire, who lives on the streets as a homeless drug addict with only a dog as his friend. Meanwhile, Alistair’s sister, Bianca (Laura Kamin), is making moves to take over her father’s business, just days before his untimely death. Alistair is still set to inherit a considerable portion of his father’s estate, and Bianca thinks he’ll spend it on drugs.
Tensions in New York heighten as Jimmy’s undercover operation yields no results. For the NYPD to continue receiving Federal Anti-Terrorism funding, it needs to find terrorists. Unfortunately, Nazim appears to be the virtuous man he claims to be. Still, his followers are growing increasingly angry with anti-Muslim racism and violence against them, which causes Nazim to lean heavier into his message of non-violence to the dismay of those around him.
"…Petrovski is pure energy on screen."