Ophelia Lovibond

Epiphany (2012, Darin McLeod)

I really hope Epiphany is supposed to be a pitch black comedy. If so, director McLeod gets kudos. If not, he deserves hisses.

The short opens with a clock. Ophelia Lovibond is in a therapy session, she’s talking–it’s unclear but she’s at the end of her session. McLeod goes through a lot of familiar tropes and Lovibond delivers the line’s well, they’re just trite.

Mark Bazeley does fine as the therapist. McLeod gives him way too much to do for three minutes when he’s just supposed to be listening. Still, it’s fine.

Once Lovibond gets up to go–at the end of the session–things become predictable and either good or bad. I’m going to give McLeod the benefit of the doubt and assume he knew how to play things.

If it were a commercial, it’d be perfect. It’s hilarious stuff. Lovibond’s performance is better than her dialogue deserves.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Darin McLeod; screenplay by McLeod, based on a story by Dustin Barron; director of photography, Benedict Spence; edited by Oliver Parker; production designer, Alexis Hamilton; produced by Mary Hare.

Starring Ophelia Lovibond (Jenny) and Mark Bazeley (Psychiatrist).


A Single Shot (2013, David M. Rosenthal)

A Single Shot is the best film noir I’ve seen in a long time. Director Rosenthal eschews trying to make a neo-noir and just sets a film noir in some backwoods region. It’s never specified and it doesn’t really matter. It’s beautiful and dangerous. From the first hunting sequence, there’s always danger in Shot.

Sam Rockwell plays a ne’er do well who finds himself in more trouble than usual when he crosses paths with some dangerous ex-cons. Of course, it doesn’t help they somehow know his best friend (Jeffrey Wright), his estranged wife (Kelly Reilly) and even his lawyer (William H. Macy). It’s when all these connections become clear–Macy repeatedly talks about what a small town everyone is living in–Shot’s noir status becomes clear.

Sure, Rosenthal and writer Matthew F. Jones make Rockwell’s character far more sympathetic than the traditional noir protagonist, which initially makes Shot feel a little more like a strange Kentucky Hitchcock picture, but it’s noir. When it the whole picture unravels and reveals all its strange connections through time… it’s noir.

Rockwell’s lead performance is amazing. If it were just him doing a one man show, it’d probably still be an excellent film. But Shot has an unbelievably good supporting cast. Wright’s fantastic–like he and Rockwell were competing for who could be more devastating in slurred monologue. Ted Levine’s got a great scene, Ophelia Lovibond is awesome. Joe Anderson and Jason Isaacs are terrifying as the villains.

Shot is great.

4/4★★★★

CREDITS

Directed by David M. Rosenthal; screenplay by Matthew F. Jones, based on his novel; director of photography, Eduard Grau; edited by Dan Robinson; music by Atli Örvarsson; production designer, David Brisbin; produced by Chris Coen, Aaron L. Gilbert, Keith Kjarval and Jeff Rice; released by Tribeca Film.

Starring Sam Rockwell (John Moon), Jeffrey Wright (Simon), Kelly Reilly (Moira), Jason Isaacs (Waylon), Joe Anderson (Obadiah), Ophelia Lovibond (Abbie), Ted Levine (Cecile) and William H. Macy (Pitt).


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