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A Clean Exit (2016)
One of 2016's most impressive independent films.
Crime films are the most thrilling morality tales of all. Watching people choose sides, sides that will determine the outcome of their lives whether they are long or short and whether those lives are lived in sin or the determination to do what's right. Cops and criminals often mirror one another and a crime film that will stand the test of time will either refuse to tow the line by showing things in black and white and instead will show the reality of life's "grey" areas or it will be a film that will establish characters that are memorable through layers of personality development and finding the right actors to convey that message. 'A Clean Exit' falls in to the latter category of what I've described here and has reinforced the idea that police officers can be family and not just colleagues willing to lay their lives on the line every single day of their professional lives for each other and for the rest of us.
'A Clean Exit' opens by showing a committed group of elite Washington D.C. police officers with ATF officers watching their every move and breathing down their necks. They are about to take down their latest perp who is holding a victim hostage. The outcome is successful and the story begins to unfold from there. The officers are Bernie (Ian A. Wade), Trace (Konstantine Wade), Brutus (Daniel F. Purcell), Daveigh (Linda M. Gregory), and Joshua (Mark E. Shapiro).
Bernie learns he has ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and has to tell his young daughter Rhian (Sierra Marie). Divorced from his wife Helen (Amber Russo), his time with Rhian isn't as plentiful as he would like and every second of their time together now counts more than ever. Bernie and Trace are like brothers and Trace is the first person Bernie tells about his affliction and the scope of things changes from there after a shocking violation comes to Rihan and Bernie's ex-wife and Rihan's stepfather Wallace (Matthew Sharpe), who is also a cop, is seriously injured. Bernie is interrogated by two police officers (Charles H. Rittenhouse Sr. and Emma James) who become a vital part of the film's story. From this point on the film becomes a cleverly woven tale of memorable characters caught up in in a life and death struggle for justice and their own survival.
The other notable characters are a New York city gangster named Tito Guarino (Rick Jermain), his right hand man Vike (Paul Rubenstein) and two second rate thugs named Bobby (Justyn Christofel) who is Guarino's son and Bobby's girlfriend Sin (Katherine Bisulca) who do Guarino's dirty work and are often raked over the coals for their incompetence.
The film is based on the novel by Clint Gaige, also the film's director and is adapted for the screen by Gaige and Daniel F. Purcell. The film's screenplay is tight, making every word and action count right down to the last detail. It has an incredible sense of balance and gives every character just the right amount of screen time pursuant to their involvement. The story is wholly original and draws its influence from the DNA of such work in popular culture as 'Hill Street Blues', the trappings of film noir and the street grit that comes from the edgy work of Sidney Lumet and the necessary profanity of a Walter Hill film. Director Clint Gaige, whose roots are found in all of this, manages to carve out his own vision and conveys it perfectly.
Gaige is a veteran producer of independent films, web series productions, TV commercials and is a published author and documentary film maker among his other credits. He follows the perfect blueprint of a three act film which builds to a smouldering and desperate climax that is the best part of the film.
Standout members of the cast who distinguish themselves are Ian Wade, Konstantine James, Daniel F. Purcell and Rick Jermain, all of whom give memorable performances.
For lovers of crime films, 'A Clean Exit' has all of the ingredients a viewer could want and it is always a pleasure to view a crime film from the vision of an independent film maker without the big commercial structure which almost always insists on unnecessary sub text or an alternate story line which isn't relevant. This is one of 2016's most impressive independent film productions.
Shotgun Mythos (2012)
A complex mythology with original writing, dynamic special effects and solid acting
'Shotgun Mythos' follows the adventures of a private detective named Joss Washburn. He is aided by Summer Skye, his assistant at Washburn and Associates and Joss soon learns that events are being put into motion that will make him immortal after the hand of Prometheus is passed to him and he will be responsible for the balance throughout all of mankind.
This series was created by Clint and Darla Gaige and the series is directed, edited and written by co-creator Clint Gaige. The series is wholly original in the way it looks and feels. The show is perfectly balanced in its use of drama, action, striking mythology, special effects, and comic relief used from time to time to give the show the perfect touch it needs in all areas.
The beauty of this series is that it dives right in by setting up things in the first episode and it always leaves the audience with a desire to come back for more. It's more than a struggle between good and evil. It shows how forces on both sides are sometimes forced to work together in order to defeat a greater foe than what either side could possibly imagine is possible. There is always a grey area and things are never black and white. The film also follows the three rules of conflict perfectly. Man vs. man, man vs. nature and man vs. himself. They are all examined in a lengthy and compelling nature.
The one thing that stands out best is that with so many characters developed, each one has a distinct persona with the perfect actors cast for each role. 'Shotgun Mythos' is also the type of series where new things will be picked up with multiple viewings as the viewer is challenged to invest their time into a series that will not disappoint.