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BREATHLESS (director/writer: Jesse Baget; screenwriter: Stefania Moscato; cinematographer: Bill Otto; editor: Jesse Baget; music: Jermaine Stegall; cast: Gina Gershon (Lorna), Kelli Giddish (Tiny), Val Kilmer (Dale), Wayne Duvall (P.I., Maurice Doucette), Ray Liotta (Sheriff Cooley); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Christine Holder; Anchor Bay; 2012)

“Could be watchable because of Gina Gershon’s mildly interesting manipulative and ruthless damsel-in-distress role.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Director, editor and writer Jesse Baget (“Cellmates”), co-writing with Stefania Moscato,helms this low-budget black comedy/thriller that turns on double-crosses and white trash lingo. Problems arise because the plot is too convoluted, too morally reprehensible and unconvincing. Also, the comedy is too strained and the cartoonish gore is off-putting. But the mostly disagreeable pic could be watchable because of Gina Gershon’s mildly interesting manipulative and ruthless damsel-in-distress performance, that it makes the most of its redneck mobile home Texas setting to highlight the state’s dubious gun culture and seems best suited for a late night cable watch when all the easy-to-please viewer wants is to take in quirky arch dialogue like “Butter my ass and call me a biscuit.”

Clark County, Texas trailer housewife Lorna (Gina Gershon) knocks unfaithful hubby Dale (Val Kilmer) cold with a frying pan and invites lounge waitress best friend Tiny (Kelli Giddish) over to confide that she knows hubby robbed a bank in the next county of $100,000 and that he was about to skip town without sharing the loot. After tying Dale up, the vengeful girls grill Dale on where he hid the money and Lorna threatens to shoot him with his own pistol she’s pointing at him if he doesn’t talk. Accidentally Lorna kills him, and Tiny agrees to help Lorna dispose of the body for a half-share of the loot when found. Meanwhile Sheriff Cooley (Ray Liotta) sits outside Lorna’s mobile home waiting to get a search warrant and slimy private investigator (Wayne Duvall), hired by Lorna to find out who hubby is screwing, turns up undetected in her mobile house and threatens the girls unless they tell him where the stolen bank money is hidden.

The more I think about this attempt at neo film noir and all the unsympathetic characters, the more it leaves me less than breathless.Though its production values are professional, the film itself is clunky.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”