Written by: Charles Casillo
Directed by: Mitchell Reichler and Brian Michael Finn
Starring: Charles Casillo, Dana Perry, and Ian Tomaschik
Reviewed by: Brett G.
Seduction. Betrayal. Murder.
What would you do if you had the unique gift of psychically experiencing a personís last moments before death? Thatís the question at the heart of Let Me Die Quietly, a neo-noir/murder mystery recently released by Breaking Glass Pictures. Tortured protagonists haunted by deception and sexual obsession abound in this leisurely-paced non-thriller.
Mario is the man with the gift in question; heís a world-weary, broken down guy who often sees agonizing victims. Lately, heís been haunted by the scene of a recent murder in Hellís Kitchen, and he attempts to help the police in their investigation. Coincidentally, he meets another psychic, Gabrielle, and they both embark upon a dark journey thatís destined to end in more bloodshed. Along the way, each will have to come to terms with themselves as they become wrapped up in the stuff nightmares are made of.
Let Me Die Quietly has all of the superficial qualities of film noir--a cynical protagonist, a mysterious femme fatale, lurid scenes of urban and moral decay, and plenty of twists and turns. What it lacks, however, is any sort of genuine intrigue because so little actually happens. The film essentially moves through Mario, who is quickly established through heaps of dialogue to be quite a sad sack; heís a talkative guy who takes solace in cops, his therapist, homeless guys, and even priests. Between all that and his noir voiceovers that pepper the narrative, you hear the guy say a whole lot in the way of some clichť, pseudo-philosophical musings that explain why heís such a pitiful bastard. Heís wears a weariness on his face well, as Casillo is appropriately sleepy-eyed and lethargic in the performance.
Itís no wonder a guy of this ilk gets involved in the filmís twisted plot. In reality, there are two: thereís the mystery surrounding the Hellís Kitchen murder, then an even more mysterious murder that hasnít been committed yet (the visions of our psychic duo tell us itís imminent though). Neither of the two has much to do with the other, but each gives the film a chance to show off some grisly, staccato murder images that further haunt our hero. The idea behind someone experiencing another personís expiring moments is interesting, though precious little is really done with it here, as the two plots actually manage to operate against each other. One is operating on that supernatural realm, whereas the other quickly degenerates into your standard conspiratorial murder plot. The filmís closing moments attempt to reconcile the two with a nonsensical attempt at existentialism and thoughts about sexual identity, but ultimately, this one doesnít have much to say besides ďbad things happen to good people."
Hardly a groundbreaking revelation, but this is an odd film that feels full of ideas, yet somehow manages to exhibit more style than substance. Said style is marked by some interesting camera work and a seemingly interminable score that attempts to bring too much drama to a film that really has none, but itís hardly enough stir the film from its somnolent pace. Breaking Glass recently brought the film home to DVD, and it features their usual offerings in the form of an anamorphic transfer and a stereo soundtrack. Special features include an interview with Casillo, a video of the Los Angeles premiere, and a theatrical trailer. Despite the good effort, this one is better off left dying quietly somewhere, just as the title suggests. Trash it!
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