It's 1947 and private investigator Nero Bloom is about to experience his most twisted mystery yet! When hired by a rich socialite to secretly follow and protect her gambling husband, ...
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It's 1947 and private investigator Nero Bloom is about to experience his most twisted mystery yet! When hired by a rich socialite to secretly follow and protect her gambling husband, Charlie Lomax, Nero has no idea what mix of mystery and intrigue lay ahead. While the case seems to be "business as usual" at first, things quickly take a turn for the worse when Nero catches Charlie sneaking off to a secret love-nest rendezvous at a local hotel. Before you can say "whodunit," Charlie winds up dead in the hotel elevator and, with no other witnesses to the crime, Nero becomes the Chief of Police's prime suspect. Fired by Mrs. Lomax and his reputation tainted, Nero has little time to clear his name and find Charlie's real killer. With the help of friend and news reporter Max Cohen, Nero sets off to question anyone who could possibly be a suspect. There's the rotund and shady nightclub owner Oswald Finch, his meek assistant Stephen Trotter, the dazzlingly beautiful Veronica Saint Claire, and...Written by
"A guy without a conscience! A dame without a heart!" : Nero Bloom as a Faithful Homage to Noir
As with many college films, "Nero Bloom" clearly fails to live up to the mammoth expectations of extravagant Hollywood productions. Nonetheless, few undergraduate films could ever boast the professional lengths achieved by this marvelous piece.
"Bloom" is an inspired homage to the Film Noir genre of the 1930s and 1940s, conjuring the seedy, gritty spirit of "The Maltese Falcon," "To Have and Have Not," and "The Big Heat." The protagonist's cynical, street-smart nature may not be original, but originality is clearly not the theme of Bloom's existence. Instead, his flattering salute to Bogartesque gumshoes proves both accurate and humorous. Just a few laughs beyond satire, Nero Bloom faithfully blends self-parody and dark humor without compromising the serious, sordid nature of the plot.
The dialogue, easily misjudged as poorly written or sophomoric, is a brilliant burlesque of the wisecracking, sarcastic conversations prone to wartime mysteries. Witty, authentic, and sardonic, it successfully conveys an atmosphere of corny morbidity.
In a stylish derivation from the genre, the discourse nearly breaks the fourth wall with its understanding self-deprecation, acknowledging modern audiences' taste for realism. In a similar technique, an uncustomary amount of visual gore and violence (often left to shadows and implication in Noir) satisfies a contemporary thirst for lethal action.
Its greatest flaw, struggling, unsophisticated acting, (acting, acting, ACTING... this is impossible to overemphasize) is hardly unexpected for this level of drama. Furthermore, such shoddy work may be overlooked as characteristic (albeit accidentally) of the melodrama of Film Noir. Nonetheless, it does subtract from an otherwise stellar piece.
While this annoying fault does distort an otherwise unblemished production, it fails to disturb the refined, proficient directing, photography, and lighting. Utilizing fantastic props, courageously authentic costumes, and marvelous settings, "Nero Bloom" feels just as authentic as any of Bogart's masterpieces. Complemented by a dazzling score, these victorious accomplishments blend into a perfect cocktail of Noiresque decadence and humor (Also worth mentioning is the PERFECTIVE introductory dancing short, a romantic salute to Fred Rogers).
This collegiate production, while hampered down by provincial acting, will nonetheless hold its own against any authentic film. It is a triumph that Bogey would have applauded.
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