Genre: Dark Comedy / Thriller
Length- 84 min
Rating: NR (strong language)
Five years ago, a big heist turned sour and David (Eric Morris) wound up in jail while his cohorts went free. Newly released, he is invited to a cabin for a weekend getaway with his old friends to divide up the loot.
Seems simple enough, right? Well, it's not – especially since his one time girlfriend Samantha (Larisa Polonsky) is now getting serious with the Irish safecracker Owen (Dara Coleman), and Franky (Robert Hogan), the head of the operation, recently died.
They're all thieves, but can David tell the truth from the lies long enough to make sure he gets his fair share of the diamonds?
Trust, Greed, Bullets & Bourbon is a new film written and directed by Scott Kawczynski. It's a crime thriller with a comedic slant, sort of in the vein of a Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction, except that as a filmmaker Kawczynski is more interested in relationships and how people relate to one another than blood, gore and sexually explicit language.
The result is a taut film where the double crosses come fast and furious. It's a verified hit at a number of film festivals across the country, and it's got an 8.2 out of 10 rating at iMDB. Check out their official Facebook page for more information on the multitude of awesome buzz this film is getting.
So how's it stack up? Really, really well.
THE BEAUTY OF DISHONESTY
The film's biggest strength lies in its characters. We have a group of thieves, all operating out of intense self interest and perfectly willing to kill one another at the drop of a hat should the moment give them an excuse to do so without violating an unspoken honor code. That's an unspoken truth.
When one of their own is found to be a mole, the gloves come off and the killing comes out into the open.
After a while, with various characters acting differently with one another at the drop of a hat, you real character, and which are just guises taken on to one up the next guy. Halfway through the film, my head was spinning so much that I didn't care all that much anymore. But rather than being a negative point, I think the confusion helped convey the hopeless nature of the situation. Truth is a terribly subjective thing, and it can be warped to serve the purpose of the moment.
start to become confused as to which persona a character inhabits at a given moment is the
These characters are bad guys, and the only person who seems like a rational human being is David. His motivations are fairly plain throughout, but in a film with so much emotional rollercoastering going on, it left me feeling kind of blah about his character. Normalcy comes across as being boring in this film.
That being said, the finale was awesome and Kathryn Merry was adorable as Circe, Franky's level headed daughter. Max Casella stole the show most times as Tyler – the guy was just so believable as a drunken, gambling scumbag and he was hilarious to boot. Plus, he has a class act moustache. You gotta respect that.
Writing: 3.5 / 5. Kawczynski's characters twist and turn emotionally and ran circles around me. I was trying to keep up, and for the most part I did. The times I didn't were actually exciting moments – these characters' fakery felt authentic, and I had fun trying to guess what anyone said was real and what was a lie.
Directing: 5 / 5. The direction is superb – and not just from the perspective of scene composition, which undoubtedly was helped by Rick Siegel, the Director of Photography. I'm talking about characters, and how one shot led into the next, with the actors seamlessly carrying over just the right notes from the previous ones. This is a really mature feature debut for Kawczynski, and I very much look forward to his next project.
Editing: 4 / 5. There were some compression errors and green screens and some moments where the dialogue got stuck and replayed five second snippets a couple times, like a broken record, but I'm pretty sure that was just the screener I watched. Otherwise, the editing, by Kawczynski and Jesse Gordon is top notch, and I'm grading it accordingly.
Sound/Music: 3 / 5. I didn't notice the music through most of the film – on the one hand, that's good because it didn't intrude or try to tell me how to feel. The best moments are when the title theme starts playing, with that pseudo Western feel, evoking moments from John Carpenter's Vampires and, of course, Tarantino's more wily moments. It's a great song and nails the tone of the picture perfectly.
Acting: 4 / 5. Everybody puts on a good show, but Merry and Casella are the real standouts. Danny Burstein takes a hilarious turn as Hector, the well meaning neighbor. Coleman's story about the fisherman also hits a pitch perfect note, giving us the theme of the picture in a stylish and well delivered way.
Final Grade: 3.9 / 5.
Don't forget to check out Trust, Greed, Bullets & Bourbon at the official website! It's available to watch on Amazon Instant Video right now!