[Director] Celestino steers clear of the can't-miss pulp thriller that Yonkers Joe could've been, and goes for broke by giving it big dollop of schmaltz. His horse doesn't come in, but it runs a respectable race.
For all its attention to detail, Yonkers Joe isn't half as tough as it pretends to be. The real story of these bottom-feeders and the sad young man they exploit is a lot uglier than the movie even begins to let on.
Philadelphia Daily News
Celestino's bid to wrap everything up in tidy fashion feels at odds with the grittiness of the film's first two-thirds, but in the end, the movie's glimpse into a seldom-seen slice of life sticks with you.