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Hall of Mirrors (2001)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 45 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 4 critic

A desperate gambling addict. A ruthless team of con men. One point five million dollars. Let the game begin.

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Title: Hall of Mirrors (2001)

Hall of Mirrors (2001) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dylan Hewitt (as Eric Johnson)
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Mara Payton
Patrick Jordan ...
Alex
Halim Jabbour ...
Haze
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Agent Riley
Tim Shane ...
Vincent
Kenyon Holmes ...
Thug
Shawn Devorse ...
Harry Delgato
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Loan Officer
Kate Kemp ...
Woman at ATM
David Jewell ...
Robert Bishop
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Blackjack Dealer
Jessica Osborne ...
Design Store Clerk
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Bank Representative (as Ruth Osuna)
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Bartender
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Storyline

Dylan Hewitt is a young, desperate gambling addict plummeted into financial ruin. That is until a strange, anonymous caller - who happens to know every intimate detail of Dylan's life - offers a unique solution to his problems. Lured by the promise of easy money and the beauty of an enigmatic woman, Dylan enters a lurid underworld of counterfeiters and con artists, where he becomes the unwitting pawn in a scheme far more elaborate and ruthless than he could have ever imagined. Written by Innuendo Films

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Don't Believe Your Eyes. See more »


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Release Date:

31 January 2001 (USA)  »

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Quotes

Dylan Hewitt: That's six times in a row you've beaten me just now. I've never lost more than six hands in a row, ever. You know what that means, don't you? It means your luck's gotta run out.
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User Reviews

The "Signs" version of the man-gets-mad-and-even scenario.
15 April 2003 | by (Brazil) – See all my reviews

You know that kind of film. We all do. It´s the kind of film where, in the trailer, the Voice of Boom spells the predictable: "They burned his wife! They raped his house! But this time, they pushed him too far. And now... THEY-ARE-GOING-TO-PAY!!!!". Cue to big explosions and the hero mowing entire armies of tommy gun-wielding ninja mobsters with his bare hands.

Hall of Mirrors is that kind of film. Only that it isn´t. It´s the Signs version of the man-gets-mad-and-even scenario. And just as M. Night Shyamalan brought new twists to the horror, superhero and alien invasion genres, helmer Brad Osborne puts his own spin to the `underdog revenge' plot.

Imagine yourself as a gambling addict neck-deep in debts. $90,000 neck-deep, to be precise. Ouch. Not the kind of money your best friend or bitchy ex-wife have around to loan you. To make things worse, your bookie has a henchman who just watched a Chinatown rerun and got some new ideas on how to bull debtors.

Well, that´s the hell Dylan Hewitt (Eric Johnson) is going thru (the opening sequence is not just a nod to the bone-tossing scene from 2001; it´s a cool storytelling device to show how our anti-hero became a compulsive gambler since his childhood). Of course, when you´re in the bottom of the pit, the only way to go is up.

(Yeah, right).

Things start to change when Dylan meets Mara Payton (the stunningly gorgeous Julie Arebalo). They bump uglies and that´s just a figure of speech, cause there´s nothing on Julie that´s even remotely ugly. Later that night, Dylan gets a weird phone call. `What about some free money? Come meet me at Santa Claus´ home and we´ll solve all your problems, no strings attached!'. Well, actually the dialogue is more noir-ish than that, but that´s the gist.

Dylan does what any normal person would on a situation like that: he dismisses the whole thing as bullshit and hangs up. The end.

Nah, that´s not the end. The story must go on, so Dylan decides to meet the caller, a mysterious man called Haze (Halim Jabbour), and it´s weaved inside a weird tapestry involving conterfeit super-dollars, broadway strippers, dead people coming back to life and the surprise appearance of Dylan´s evil twin, Darrin.

Okay, I made up the evil twin bit, but that´s basically what Hall of Mirrors is: a surprisingly well-crafted con/revenge story that may not be original, but is gripping enough to keep you guessing til the very last minute. And the best thing is that the movie gets BETTER on a second viewing, when we can see how we were so cleverly deceived by Brad Osborne´s scrip. Sure, it´s a script that cheats a lot to achieve the desired effects, but so what? It´s not as if walking zombies or starships making noise in space count as realistic moviemaking.

And do you wanna know something more surprising? Hall of Mirrors was made for scant $ 4.000 and doesn´t show it at all. It´s not schmancy fancy (it was shot on digital video and processed to look like film, hence the soft image) and some sets look cramped, but it doesn´t look cheap - a lesson those multi-digit-hungry vultures from Tinseltown REALLY need to learn.

No-budget or not, this flick was made very professionally, with smooth editing, excellent photography, cool minimalist music (also written by the director) and attention to that little thing 99% of indie producers never fail to neglect: sound. Using only sound effects, they managed to turn Dallas during winter on sunny Louisiana. It´s a very subtle detail that will probably go unnoticed (and I only know that ´cuz they say it on the commentary track, so don´t think I´m a genius), but it sells the illusion on a subconscious level. Or quite: during a night scene, Julie appears with a tight sweater with no bra that´s a tell-tale sign of how cold it was that day, if you know what I mean.

Save for some small exceptions, the acting is consistently good and convincing. You know you´re going to see a nice acting job when a small bit player, the guy who plays the blackjack dealer as the casino (Chip Joslin), delivers a single line with rare naturality. Seeing how the movie is character-driven, the cast did a wonderful job in bringing Brad´s story to life.

Hall of Mirrors is available on DVD thru the official homepage and it´s a pretty decent disc. Video compression leaves something to be desired, with at least two brief scenes suffering from heavy pixelation, but don´t let that stop you. The extras include a fun commentary track with writer/director/composer Brad Osborne, producer Marc Pilvinsky, director of photography Bobb Truax, actors Eric Johnson and the woman I want to call my wife, Julie Arebalo. There´s also an interesting documentary/making of, and a series of bloopers and outtakes. FUNNY bloopers and outtakes, for a change. There´s only two things missing: the trailer, and a photo gallery consisting solely of Julie pics.

In the last decade, Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Williamson rose to fame paying self-referential homages to drive-in classics of yore. That´s cool, but what about bringing new ideas to tired genres? Hollywood´s not doing that anymore. This task is now at the hands of guys like Alvin Ecarma (Lethal Force), Brian O´Hara (Rock´n´Roll Frankenstein), Dante Tomaselli (Desecration) and, now, Brad Osborne. More power to them! And I only hope they don´t screw things up once they dip their feet on those murky Hollywood waters!


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