A Lower East Side bartender becomes entangled in a murder mystery involving a desperate woman, a missing drug dealer and the scion of a powerful investment firm.A Lower East Side bartender becomes entangled in a murder mystery involving a desperate woman, a missing drug dealer and the scion of a powerful investment firm.A Lower East Side bartender becomes entangled in a murder mystery involving a desperate woman, a missing drug dealer and the scion of a powerful investment firm.
Alicja Bachleda made her movie debut at 16 in a masterpiece. Sad she has sunk to this.
Mike Starr, who has appeared in an enormous number of movies as a heavy, either played straight or for humor, does his usual reliable job here.
I love Film Noir, and there is a good story hiding somewhere within all the confusion. Mr Onah should have handed over the direction to someone with a clue. They are not shy about promoting Spike Lee's name as one of the 17 (!) producers, executive producers and assistant producers. You would think that Lee or one of his colleagues would have had the common-sense to steer the director away from some of his more egregious errors, such as:
--- The incessant narration, on topics related and unrelated to the story in progress.
--- Awful camera-work, replete with shakes and glare.
--- The pointless flashbacks (a common feature of such low-budget would-be neo-noirs).
--- The horrible soundtrack, which made it almost impossible to follow the plot. So often these days the music (if that is what it is meant to be) drowns out the dialogue, made worse when, as here, many of the cast seem to suffer speech impediments.
I was discussing with a friend only today why so many Brit actors are now popping up in US movies, even in supporting roles as "All-American" characters. My friend thought it was because they were cheaper, but I think the main reason is because they can articulate. Method acting is great when used by a Newman or a Steiger, but downright confusing when attempted by knuckle-dragging illiterates who think it is a way to by- pass real training as actors.
I give it 4 for the sense of location and the promise in the plot. Not the lead actors' fault, they did their best. I don't suppose anyone involved will go near Onah as a director again. Maybe he can make a career as a screen-writer.
It looked like something made by a student. I see here that it was. I think a good rule-of-thumb for novice directors is to keep it simple, then add special effects and gimmicks as their skills increase with experience.
- May 24, 2015