“Kinnari”- (Short Film Review)

 

By Andrew Buckner
Rating: ***** out of *****.

Writer-director Christopher Di Nunzio’s four minute and forty-three second short film, “Kinnari” (2016), is a powerful, gripping and abstractly eloquent meditation on the harsh, yet wondrous, journey of life into death. The latter of which is occasionally referred to throughout the affair itself as “the great nothingness”. Di Nunzio’s composition is just as adamantly concerned with how the boundaries of these two oft addressed subjects intermingle. It is as apt to ponder how these opening and closing portions of our being are frequently blurred. This is especially true when spied through a retrospective lens. Particularly, the viewpoint of a man who may be mentally peering at such sights amid his final moments. Such is illustrated as a dream-like trek to enlightenment. This overtakes the bulk of the narrative. It is sewn with a plethora of poetic wisdoms and long pined over inquiries. In turn, Di Nunzio provides an adventure of self-discovery. It is one which is steered by time cemented perspective and experience. A knowingly anti-corporate and media outlook, the basis of an enthralling monologue around the one minute mark, pushes such perceptions to tremendous effect. This emanates intriguingly from our ruggedly engaging narrator and lead, David (in a brilliant, unflinching and always watchable enactment from David Graziano). These traits he has acquired during his singular voyage through the planes of existence.

Such is perpetuated by a fateful meeting. This takes place in a stark and gorgeously realized instance near the mid-way point. It involves the rediscovery of the title entity (in a portrayal by Jamie Joshi which is quietly striking and consistently mesmerizing). She is the crucial persona in David’s illumination. Her name also shares that of a topically proper noun, largely used to describe a half-human and half-horse or half-bird hybrid, in Buddhist mythology. This is of an archetypical lover. Such is consistent with the story Di Nunzio paints. The same can be articulated for the paradigms that are encountered upon her arrival.

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Our hero describes her as a “goddess”. In a manner befitting to such consecrated figures, David moves with Kinnari through a surreal landscape. These are a collection of beautifully structured, yet appropriately earthly, set-ups. They all hypnotically personify the stages of David’s physical span. As she pulls him deeper into this realm, the sum becomes progressively complex, abstract and cerebral. A staggeringly staged, near-climactic arrangement oversees David shadowing Kinnari up a winding, ostensibly endless flight of steps. Such personifies both the photographic and demonstrative core of the entire effort.

Additionally, there is a character to audience discourse which builds the foundation of the project. Such is triumphantly carried on throughout. This is a whispery, yet friendly, source of personal development. It victoriously aids in conveying a well-rounded glimpse into the inner-workings of our protagonist. Such heightens the intimacy, honesty and profundity at hand immensely.

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Likewise, this fascinating plotline is given meticulous, pensive craftsmanship. Such is via Di Nunzio’s smartly paced screenplay (supervised by Christine Perla). His dialogue cracks with ingenuity, credibility and mature observations. It is also remarkably introspective. All the while, it comes across as deceptively casual. Such is much in the way of a stream of spoken conscious. Given the general format of the article, this approach is undeniably operative. This stands as an obvious signpost of Di Nunzio’s outstanding capacity for authorship. It is just as much a marker of recognition for the natural relatability inherent in Graziano’s outstanding delivery of his interchanges. Such qualities align themselves in the spectacular custom Di Nunzio displayed with the modern noir, A Life Not to Follow (2015). It was also at the at the forefront of his avant-garde horror invention Delusion (2016). In both cases, Di Nunzio scripted as well as served as administrator.

Much in line with these prior presentations, the story is smartly and smoothly paced. It is guided by Di Nunzio’s Lynchian sensibility for haunting, yet memorable and alluring, imagery. Correspondingly, the entirety of the exertion is slickly designed. This is so easily evident that even early, close-up shots of David’s coffee seem to be a mirror image of the bleak places in his soul. There are other relatively commonplace segments, such as a bit involving David walking on a presumably abandoned train track with a brick wall of graffiti looming closely behind him, that appear just as much like a grim visage. Such aspects appear as if they are taken directly from a waking nightmare. This is only amplified by Di Nunzio’s masterful framing. Such fashions an undeniably arresting style. It is one which makes the labor even more immersive and remarkable.

Such appeal is also punctuated by Di Nunzio’s seamless editing. His gently used, yet incredibly melodic and mood-setting, music also aids this factor outstandingly. Similarly, Nolan Yee’s cinematography, offered in the standard 16:9 HD aspect ratio, is somberly atmospheric. It is also elegant and thematically apt. Christopher Hallock’s astonishing assistant camera contribution is fabulous. Such augments the phenomenal nature of Di Nunzio’s expertly staged sequences. This is in terms of their stark believability and dazzlingly skillful construction. The culmination of these attributes make the sheer artistry which resonates through every frame of this Somerville, Massachusetts recorded drama increasingly palpable.

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Di Nunzio issues a somber, intellectual tone that never once wavers throughout the duration. What establishes this atmosphere so immediately is the implementation of a monochrome title card. It is held on-screen for seven seconds. A single, thunderous chord is distantly heard in the background. The simplicity of this arrangement is the first of the many wise decisions and courageous moves Di Nunzio orchestrates. The final credits scene, proceeded by David’s harrowing realization that “Only me and beauty exist”, succeeds in the same arenas as those discussed above. These two sections evoke perfect bookends for the tale this item uncompromisingly and attractively tells. Moreover, Di Nunzio has an instinctive knack for what is to be glimpsed as well as left away from the eyes of onlookers. Such makes the proceedings progressively captivating. It is also proficient and enigmatic. The outcome of which makes the chain of events as unpredictable as they are perpetually enchanting.

Such creates an arc for that account which is impeccable. It is akin to a cinematic puzzle. Di Nunzio has gifted his spectators with a tour de force on all fronts. This Creepy Kid Productions release soars as an exhibition of temperament, moving picture bravura and intellectual yarn-spinning. It is also a standout performance piece for Di Nunzio’s recurrent collaborator, Graziano, as well as newcomer Joshi. Di Nunzio’s latest further astounds with the questions it poses as well as the answers it commands us to form. This is a rare work of celluloid prowess. It is one that will unveil new wonders and insights with each accruing sit through. Di Nunzio has formed an absolute bulls-eye; one of the best configurations of its type I have witnessed all year.

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“Sisyphus” – (Short Film Review)

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By Andrew Buckner
Rating: ****1/2 out of *****.

“Sisyphus”(2016), the fourteen minute and thirty-three second debut short from director David Graziano, is an incredibly clever and strikingly original modernization of Albert Camus’ 119 page philosophical essay on the pointless quest for understanding, The Myth of Sisyphus (1942). In Camus’ famed text, the title Greek Mythology figure labored to roll a boulder up a mountain. It was a duty he was forced to endeavor for all of eternity. The futility of this back-breaking chore was articulated in the fact that once this was achieved he would watch the rock slide back down the elevation. The job was then repeated to no avail. Such was an expression of the human condition that endures as easily visible. It can still be applied to various aspects of our own personal lives. In turn, it is more than deserving of the updating Graziano and screenwriter Christopher DiNunzio, from a story by Bryan Casey, so marvelously craft here.

In Graziano’s effort, the symbolic pillar is that of a secret romantic relationship. It has blossomed from a friendship between Gretta (in a warm, gentle and credible performance by Jami Tennille) and Marlene (an enactment by Diana Porter that is just as nuanced and wondrous as her on-screen counterpart). The passage of days into years is gently, wisely expressed. This is through their various meetings at the same coffee house. At the heart of this dramatic undertaking is Gretta’s impending divorce. She sees this as a perfect opportunity to cement the once ardent bond she had with Marlene. Yet, Marlene is indecisive. It is an attribute of Porter’s role that she conjures brilliantly. This is as she goes through the majority of the piece coyly, as if unsure of what Gretta is desperately trying to communicate to her. It is from this point other interestingly conveyed concealments begin to get in the way of what Gretta and Marlene once had with one another.

The affair is punctuated by sparkling, immersive cinematography by Nolan Yee. He captures the mature, yet down to earth, tone Graziano injects spectacularly into each frame. This is with incredible visual flare. There is also a vastly appreciated underlying commentary on our diminishing face to face talks with one another. This is as the labor opens with everyone on their phones, directly avoiding all the people surrounding them. There is even an impression that Gretta and Marlene, with the exception of the baristas to their customers, are the only ones who are actually speaking to one another directly. All of this increases greatly the highly representative nature of this beautifully executed opus.

Likewise, Steven Lanning-Cafaro, who appropriately appears here as The Guitar Player, builds upon the sophisticated ambiance unveiled throughout. This is with his musical contribution. Cafaro provides soothing, melodic rifts. All of which are precisely what you may hear at a setting such as the one found herein. Such sweet sounds are continuously streamed in the background during the coffee house sequences. In turn, it often seems as if it is in sequence with and, simultaneously, helping edify the sentiment being uttered by our leads at every turn. Yet, astonishingly, it never once overshadows the dialogue driven emphasis of the account. In this sense, as well as many others, “Sisyphus” is a masterful demonstration.

Further facilitating matters is DiNunzio’s terrific, seamless editing. Graziano, who has wide-ranging involvement as a scripter and actor, has a behind the lens approach which is stalwart and engrossing. He will assuredly fare here as well as he did in his previously stated doings. Graziano’s bravura also compliments the material splendidly. There is also strong sound and camera work present. Such continues to build the excellence found herein.

DiNunzio’s screenplay is smartly paced. The aforementioned banter between our two leads is intelligent, authentic and well-written. The only occasion the feeling at hand seems to lapse is in a mid-way segment and in another nearly identical one during the concluding seconds. This is when we witness the shot of a package being opened. Instead of letting this transpire leisurely, and in real time, it is sped up. On each instance this plays out it momentarily throws us out of the saga. This is because it seems too rushed. It betrays the gingerly constructed illusion to watching life unfold that arose beforehand.

Yet, these are but a few erroneous flashes in an otherwise stellar, highly gripping composition. The fiction, which is scheduled for release in December of this year, is magnificent told. This is in a simple, straight-forward manner. Such mechanizes splendidly in the overall context. Best of all, the characters are always at the forefront. Gretta and Marlene are spectacularly developed. This is especially noteworthy given the exertion’s brief duration. Our protagonists, as well as the photoplay itself, should prove relatable to a wide-audience. Graziano has erected a truly impressive, emotive experience. I look forward to seeing what moving picture wonders he will conjure in the future.

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“Delusion” – (Movie Review)

By Andrew Buckner
Rating: ***** out of *****.

Director Christopher Di Nunzio’s neo-noir horror opus, Delusion (2016), is a masterful stylistic showcase. Released through Creepy Kid Productions, this is an old-fashioned psychological portrait with touches of the occult. Likewise, it is a lesson in the power and potency of subtly and restraint. Di Nunzio’s upcoming undertaking comes together so ingeniously because it draws us in with its mystery. This is expertly teased with the on-going question of what exactly is going on with the lead, Frank (in an enactment by David Graziano which is remarkable, credible and continually watchable). We find ourselves peering through the tiniest of details trying, must as our protagonist himself must be doing, to sort out what is physical and what is nightmare. This, enthrallingly, takes up most of the feature. Yet, it plays with the imagination incredibly well throughout. Di Nunzio leaves so much to the seat of our thoughts that one cannot help but stand in admiration of how skillfully fashioned the entire endeavor remains.

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These sentiments are eluded to, after an ominous and brief credit sequence, with a commencing shot of a woman’s eye. This calls to mind the climactic moments of the legendary shower murder sequence of Lila Crane (Janet Leigh) in Alfred Hitchcock’s quintessential tale of murder and madness, Psycho (1960). For the rest of the meticulously paced, mesmerizing and impeccably structured eighty-five minute length of the affair, Di Nunzio’s bravura behind the lens vividly recalls the aforementioned cinematic maestro. This is incorporated with a dash of early David Cronenberg (1975’s Shivers, 1977’s Rabid) and Brian De Palma (1973’s Sisters, 1978’s The Fury). The previously stated comparison is most striking in the tensely orchestrated concluding fifteen minutes. This inspiration is mixed in to make this unique blend of fear all the more savory.

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With some of Di Nunzio’s earlier works paralleling other silver screen savants, such as he did with Ingmar Bergman and Martin Scorsese in A Life Not to Follow (2015), such a resemblance only heightens how impressive Di Nunzio’s talent and multi-faceted handling of his various genre turns remains. Still, his style is distinctly his own. Di Nunzio is undoubtedly an independent moviemaker to be watched. He is a name that all fellow admirers of cinema will be well-acquainted with in the immediate future. This is, of course, if they are not already aware of this great name looming on the horizon.

All of this is also visible in the manner Di Nunzio composes a shot. This adds to the proficiency at hand. It also gives the arrangement even more of a visual allure. A design like this makes this ever-intriguing puzzle box of a flick all the more enchantingly cryptic. These physiognomies are also observable in Di Nunzio’s awe-inspiring framing. It all comes together to create a pulse-pounding example of showmanship. We also witness these components in the anything but straight-forward manner in which Di Nunzio’s equally intelligent and striking screenplay is constructed. Ultimately, Delusion is as much thriller as it is art.

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Di Nunzio chronicles Frank Parrillo. In the exertion’s first ten minutes he receives a letter from his wife, Isabella (in a marvelous performance by Carlyne Fournier). What is odd about this, and also instantly attention-garnering on the spectator’s side, is that she died three years prior. While recovering from this event with the support of his nephew, Tommy (in a depiction by Justin Thibault that is beautifully rendered and multi-layered), Frank tries to figure out what the written piece signifies. In the process he meets the enigmatic Mary (an incredible turn by Jami Tennille). Their mutual scars initially appear to be a point of healing between the two. All of this shapes a confrontation of Frank’s own personal doubts and fears. Yet, he is haunted by a male figure whose existence is questionable. Simultaneously, he is further plagued by a psychic, Lavinia (in a representation by Irina Peligrad that is certainly compelling). Her own premonitions tell Frank to stay away from the new love in his life. Amid these incidents, Frank must discern what is fact and what is fiction. This is before his time and chances to do so have vanquished.

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The story is riveting. It is also, much like some of the undertones presented herein, spellbindingly surreal unto itself. Such is indefinitely punctuated and made all the more captivating in the incredible, haunting manner in which it is told. Frederic Maurerhofer’s music is also eloquent and unsettling. This suits the atmosphere of the piece tremendously well. The same can be said for Nolan Yee’s eye-catching, gorgeously honed cinematography. Di Nunzio’s editing is skillful. This item assists greatly in giving the configuration its classic build. Arsen Bortnik’s special effects mirror the legitimacy Di Nunzio strives for spectacularly. They are a welcome distraction from the cartoonish computer generated imagery which, sadly, dominates so many motion pictures of our day. Additionally, Jessica-Lee Van Winkle’s make-up in this particular department is wonderful.

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Those responsible for the sound heard here offer us a demonstration of brilliance. Consisting of Carlo J. Barbieri III, Laura Grose and Christopher Lee, their collective contribution is crisp and ear-catching. Di Nunzio also supplies, along with the other pleasing apparatuses mentioned early, dialogue that cracks with believability. The situations that are bestowed upon us throughout align themselves to this facet with astonishing precision.

Moreover, the rest of cast fares just as well as those mentioned above. Kris Salvi is magnificent as Grayson. Renee Lawrie is exceptional as Rose. Jessy Rowe as Wendy, Christine Perla as Catarina and Ronnie Oberg as Ronnie all provide grand interpretations of their respective personas as well.

Set to be released on October 31st, Di Nunzio has crafted an exceptional example of the strength of the understated. It’s deeply impressed, poetic imagery is beautifully, terrifying issued. This is without a single exhibition of the various clichés and cold- shoulder to characterization which often takes over the category of fright. Di Nunzio keeps Frank’s plight and inner-wars at the forefront of the project. This adds heart to the proceedings. It also demonstrates a dramatic intensity that blends with the more outright suspenseful elements sweepingly. This makes the attempt resonate immensely. It is as if we are quietly walking alongside Frank throughout the entirety of the venture. This is as the wrenching chain of otherworldly events, which gradually encompass the plot, sweep over us. Consequently, we find ourselves absolutely amazed and intrigued throughout the course of this mesmerizing opus. Such is all the more reason that Di Nunzio’s latest, which was shot entirely in the state of Massachusetts, is a rich filmic experience. It is one which will prove worthy of many future viewings and potentially buried insights. This is as we return to the material in fascination of the craftsmanship at all technical levels as well in admiration of the quiet intensity and intricacy of the narrative. Di Nunzio has erected a tour de force. For fellow cinephiles: this is essential viewing. Delusion is a magnum opus of the highest order.

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The official Facebook page for Delusion can be found here.

“Under the Dark Wing”- (Short Film Review)

 

By Andrew Buckner
Rating: ***** out of *****.

Director Christopher Di Nunzio (2011’s “Her Heart Still Beats”, 2015’s A Life Not to Follow) continues to astound with his fifteen minute short film from 2014, “Under the Dark Wing”. Released through Creepy Kid Productions this is a darkly poetic, hypnotic and utterly unique take on the paranormal tale. This brilliant work, which plays like a combination of Ingmar Bergman and Martin Scorsese, is enriched by Nolan Yee’s gorgeous black and white cinematography. Further enhancing the visual appeal of this already dazzling endeavor is Di Nunzio’s masterful direction. In particular, his apparently effortless knack for framing alluring shots. Alongside this, Di Nunzio summons mesmerizing angles which heighten the sense of claustrophobia, always a necessity for thrillers such as these, on-screen. An extended conversation in a secluded area, an office of sorts, between Johnny Boy (a riveting, nuanced performance by Fiore Leo) and George (in a portrayal by David Graziano which is suitably menacing and extraordinary), which takes up most of the first half of the effort, are where such touches are most evident. But, it is also present in a beautifully rendered moment where Johnny Boy walks cautiously through a field, his left hand extended before us as if guiding, as the camera treads scant inches away from the young man. This is all a compelling build-up to coming face to face with The Girl (a fascinating enactment by Jessy Rowe which exhibits the character’s underlying currents of power and vulnerability spectacularly well). Di Nunzio also captures the isolation of the characters, and the region in which they dwell, with shots of largely empty streets and abandoned buildings. Such elements immerse us in the mind of Johnny Boy, as he treads through them in the affair’s earliest moments, instantly. These are all indicators of the high-arena of technical conception Di Nunzio and his crew are laboring at throughout.

The narrative revolves around Johnny Boy, who claims to have been drug free for a year, returning to his boss, George. Frustrated, Johnny Boy relates the failure of his past job, where he was supposed to slaughter a C.E.O., to the presence of a young girl. But, when an enigmatic female figure begins to find her way into the lives of the two: George is blind-sided by the idea of the profit she could bring in. Immediately afterward George and Johnny Boy begin to realize that the fate they thought they had a firm hold of could be in someone else’s hands entirely.

 

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“Under the Dark Wing” grabs ahold of our attention immediately, with a sharply done title scene, punctuated by the exclamatory clattering of bells, and concludes on a just as impressive climactic note. The piece is propelled by cryptic, noir-like dialogue. It is also fashioned with a non-stop pace that is both quick yet, authentic and brooding. Not only does this tighten the already wire-like grip on underlying suspense Di Nunzio has fabricated but, it adds heightened style, menace and intrigue to an already white-knuckle horror effort. What mechanizes just as tremendously to its acclaim is that it unveils a manner to develop its characters cleverly, through wordplay and ominous, poetic and visually stunning images that never shatter the tense guise hovering over the entirety of the project. Furthermore, they never seem artificial. This is as much a testament to Di Nunzio’s masterful guidance of the exertion as it is the intelligent, beautifully constructed screenplay he penned, from a story Di Nunzio (who has an uncredited role as the Dead C.E.O. in this venture) is solely attributed with conceiving, with Pedro Alvarado.

 

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Di Nunzio, among his many prodigious contributions here, gives us music that is cloaked in temperament, perfect for the material and only adds to the classic veneer which hangs over the proceedings. He also contributes editing which is proficient, seamless and as eloquently crafted as the endeavor itself. The involvement from the rest of the crew is just as spectacular. Special make-up effects artist, Jessica Van-Winkle, does an astounding job with her respective participation. Boom-operator/ sound-recordist, Laura Grose, delivers sound that is crisp and alive. Alex Huang’s camera influence is terrific. Keith Bennet, who appears in the role of The Thug, is gripping. He makes an incredible impression with his brief time on-screen.

 

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With “Under the Dark Wing” and the feature film he created one year later, A Life Not to Follow, Di Nunzio has proven that, not only he has absolutely mastered the creation of mature, grimly stunning and thoughtful thrillers. His characters are credibly etched, a vigorous facet which makes him stand triumphantly above the legion of those who toil in similar genres with antagonists and protagonists practically indecipherable from similar cinematic ventures. His stories walk the ledge of reality so well that we, the audience, never have any problem believing what our eyes are seeing. Not only is this because of the impeccable way he develops the personalities on-screen but, because he puts them first and makes us care for them all. It is a feat that many attempt but, few can pull off in such a consistently entertaining manner. Di Nunzio is an astonishing filmic auteur and “Under the Dark Wing” is every bit as tremendous as the other entries in his varied catalogue.

 

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“A Life Not To Follow”- (Movie Review)

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By Andrew Buckner

Rating: ***** out of *****.

A Life Not To Follow, written by Pedro Alvarado and director Christopher Di Nunzio and released through Creepy Kid Productions, is a knockout neo-noir, gangster crime- drama set in Boston, Massachusetts. It garners its endless effectiveness by investing as much time and concern in the personal lives of its leads as it does sharpening its increasingly gritty narrative edge. Also helping the stalwart nature of this achievement is that the composition is propelled by a brilliantly crafted script. It drips with smart, yet credibly graphic banter and appropriately dark cinematography by Nolan Yee. The proficient editing by Di Nunzio and an astonishing contribution from the sound department only enhances these previously stated characteristics with its rugged veneer. With the further incorporation of a spectacularly mood-setting score from Eros Cartechini, convincing visual effects by Mike Shea and Jessice-Lee Van Winkle as well as riveting performances from everyone involved, Di Nunzio has crafted an indie masterpiece. It is one that plays like a gloriously original hybrid of the distinct storytelling attributes of Quentin Tarantino, with three ‘chapters’ which each act as both a single saga and an interconnected narrative with each of its leads is the star, with the constant craftsmanship and demeanor of an early Martin Scorsese classic. This stylistic blend makes the one hundred and five minutes of this already tightly-knit picture appear to move all the more briskly and engagingly. It also helps the proceedings radiate an art house sensibility. Such is one that also alternates as pure entertainment. These characteristics, along with Di Nunzio’s singular and stupendous directorial eye, concoct a raw, human filmic experience.

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Such a conclusion is drawn primarily due to the tremendous restraint shown here from drawing distinct lines between whom is protagonist or antagonist. There is no judgment on any of our central characters as a lesser movie would be all too apt to do. Alvarado and Di Nunzio have created real people. They are complete with both regrets, faults and unique accomplishments in tow. Because of this we spend each of its trio of segments getting fairly and equally acquainted with our leads. These are the youthful ruffian, Eric DiVenardi (a remarkable portrayal by Fiore Leo that is fiery, vulnerable and endlessly engrossing), the hitman, Angelo (a depiction by John Martellucci where many of the same sentiments apply) and the Insomnia gripped F.B.I. agent, Tobias Kane (a representation by David Graziano that is just as absorbing as those he is paired up against). This makes for a far more intimate, multi-layered endeavor. It is one where the perspective and personal lives of each of these individuals is carefully fleshed out. Furthermore, it is smartly given its own time to unveil its respective side to the audience. This, ultimately, makes its stirring, tremendously done finale all the more nail-bitingly harrowing and intense. In its climactic moments we find ourselves on all sides at once. This is because we have endowed so much interest into DiVenardi, Angelo and Tobias Kane. It’s an act that few silver screen affairs have attempted. Even more notably, it is one even less cinematic exertions have pulled off in such a rousingly triumphant fashion.

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Retribution and vengeance, two undeniably similar subjects which are well-represented in features such as these, are recurring themes throughout the first pair of segments. In the first section, we meet DiVenardi just short of the five minute mark. He is adorned in a gray sweatshirt with the hood pulled over most of his countenance; a look of fear and alarm visibly striking him. Before he even speaks we are wondering about his plight and why he is so apprehensive. Soon we learn that he is terrified of losing his life and a violent atonement may be his only answer to avoid such a fate. The second division continues this contemplation. It does this by introducing us to Angelo, whose closest acquaintance may have to take a bullet from him or else find himself on the receiving end of one. In the closing forty-three minutes all three personalities link. This transpires as Kane’s search for a young woman takes him down an unexpected route.

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There are twists aplenty to the account. Unlike many celluloid epics nowadays which want to show off their narrative cleverness, they never feel forced. Instead these events go the more admirable course and follow the natural progression of events. This only adds to the genuine display of aptitude that flows consistently through every frame. Alvarado and Di Nunzio sprinkle elements of relationships, romantic and professional, into the plotline. These take us even further into the already richly erected, and singular, worlds of DiVenardi, Angelo and Kane. Moreover, it makes the stakes all the higher for each individual as we know all of them so personally. In turn, the intensity is made all the more ruthless and palpable, especially in the more sentimental instances, as we anxiously await the outcome in store. There is a care shown here from commencement to conclusion for characterization. It is as alive in its central personas as it is in for its secondary cast. Even those with extremely limited screen time, like The Razor (James L. Leite) or Victor (Angel Garcia), have a magnetic charisma, an enigmatic likability to them that makes us want to know more. Their enactments, as well as Michael Capozzi as Luca Trapini, Molly Kay as Eliza Cushing, Ericka Derrickson as Finola and the rest of the crew, are phenomenal. This only makes these well-developed personages seem to leap all the more effortlessly off the screen and forever into our hearts and minds.

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DiNunzio’s A Life Not To Follow works spectacularly on all fronts. It transitions from drama to thriller easily. What is just as incredible is that it respects the traditions of similar entries in its sub-genre without ever forgetting to be its own entity. It never peers away from the emotional focus, whether visibly stated or subtly drawn, in the way it follows it stays close to those who populate the screen. This is also accomplished with the numerous sequences of love and anger which often intermingle throughout. This makes for a well-rounded, strikingly made rollercoaster ride for the senses. It is one that can only be defined as ‘pure experience’. This is a journey that I am eager to take again. Additionally, it is one that I highly recommend taking yourself. DiNunzio is a fantastic talent. The proof of this is emblazoned throughout every moment herein.

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