John Slattery's feature directorial debut, an adaptation of Pete Dexter's first novel, God's Pocket stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as Mickey Scarpato, who lives in the gritty, blue-collar neighborhood of God's Pocket with his wife Jeanie (Christina Hendricks), a lifelong resident of the Pocket, and his stepson Leon (Caleb Landry Jones). Young Leon works at a construction site, and one day his overt racism and all-around unlikability lead to his murder at the hands of a co-worker (the entire crew claim it was a workplace accident).
Mickey, always down on his luck financially, has to scrape together enough money to pay combative funeral-home owner Jack Moran (Eddie Marsan) for the service his grieving wife wants for her boy. He talks his best friend Bird (John Turturro) into betting on a horse he has a tip on, and Bird goes along with the scheme in order to pay off his own debts to a local gangster named Sal Cappi (Domenick Lombardozzi).
Watching over this rough-and-tumble community is newspaper columnist Richard Shellburn (Richard Jenkins), who writes poetic pieces about the dignity of the locals while remaining continually soused and on the prowl for attractive young women he can sleep with. He visits Jeanie to profile her dead son, and she confesses to him that she doesn't think his co-workers are telling the truth about what happened.