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Five Deep Breaths (2003)

Friends meet at the crossroads of loyalty and morality and are forced to decide which path to walk.



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Credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pascale Armand
Edrick Browne ...
Harvey Gardner Moore
Kecha Kambe ...


Banny and Mark are best friends, finishing college. Mark asks Banny for help moving his sister's things out of the apartment of her boyfriend, whom she says assaulted her. They help her move. Then Mark decides he wants more - retribution, payback. Banny resists: do they know what actually happened? Plus, the guy is rumored to have a gun. Mark is persistent and gathers other friends. They have options: their own assault of the boyfriend, perhaps a verbal confrontation, or maybe just a simple warning. What Banny and Mark do tests the definition of manhood, of self-respect, and of good sense. Meanwhile, do men own women? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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January 2003 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Very convincing and tense tale that captures macho posturing, friendship, loyalty and mob mentality in one contained short
6 April 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Banny convinces his friend Mark to accompany him to help two women clear out her stuff from the house of her abusive boyfriend. All well and good but then Banny decides that the man in question has to be taught a lesson – although Mark knows the man has a gun, so it is not a good idea. Despite this Banny persists and gets a group of friends together to go and tackle the man, although there are different schools of thought about how best to do this. In support of his friend, Mark goes along.

It is with hindsight that I come to this short film and I had to make an effort to meet it on its own terms and not be influenced by this being the short film that opened the door for Hector and Mann to The Wire and subsequently many other great television shows (and Heroes). So, unlike many looking backwards over their shoulder, I shall not pontificate about how you can see the potential etc etc, because the film is not about that but is a beast in itself that deserves attention. The narrative appears to be simple since it plays out in a couple of scenes, however there is a lot going on in here. Issues of friendship, confrontation, the idea of "being a man", the reality of "being a mob", posturing and ultimately loyalty all play a part in the telling and I found this quite engaging. On top it all the film is very tense as it builds; starting off with a simple friendship the film gradually moves towards a confrontation and this is very well done so that you do feel like holding your breath through a lot of it. The resolution of this is also good and, although understated, the ending does carry weight.

The direction from Mann puts us right in the group for the whole time but it is Hector that stays in the mind in front of the camera. I was used to seeing him using his eyes and intensity as Marlo but here although he plays it very close with the same tools, he does show great range here and he is a real presence that keeps you watching because of what he does with small touches rather than large flourishes. Five Deep Breaths did mark a big turning point for director and star and it will be remembered for that by fans of shows the two then went onto, however it should not overshadow the fact that Five Deep Breaths is inherently a very strong short film – not just because of what followed, but because of what it does in the 20 minutes it is on.

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