(director/writer: Francis Galluppi; cinematographer: Mac Fisken; editor: Francis Galluppi; music: Matthew Compton; cast: Jim Cummings (Unnamed knife salesman), Faizon Love (Vernon), Jocelin Donahue (Charlotte), Richard Brake (Beau), Nicolas Logan (Travis), Ryan Masson (Miles), Sierra McCormick (Sybil), Michael Abbott, Jr. (Sheriff), Barbara Crampton (Virginia), Gene Jones (Robert), Alex Essoe (Sarah), Conor Paolo (Gavin, Deputy), Robin Bartlett (Earline), Jon Proudstar (Pete), Sam Huntington (David); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Atif Malik, Francis Galluppi, Matt O’Neill; Well Go USA; 2023)

“It’s an entertaining film that’s well-acted and funky.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Former LA music video director, Francis Galluppi, makes his feature film directorial debut a good one in this pulsating crime thriller. It’s shot in real-time, on location, and set in the 1970s. The stylish and clever B film noir riffs on Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (1992), but turns out more like a Coen Brothers dark comedy.

An unnamed dorky knife salesman (Jim Cummings) is told by the husky owner of a truck-stop gas station (Faizon Love), in rural Yuma County, Arizona, that his tank is empty but the fuel truck delivery should be here shortly (we know the fuel tuck won’t be coming because we see a shot of it overturned on the road).

The salesman goes next-door to wait it out in the diner, that’s known for its rhubarb pie. He’s a divorced father on the road to attend his daughter’s birthday party.

While waiting at the diner, the salesman talks with the friendly diner owner and waitress, Charlotte (Jocelin Donahue), married to the sheriff (Michael Abbott, Jr.). Also arriving at the diner are a grumpy elderly couple (Gene Jones, Robin Bartlett); a young guy named Miles (Ryan Masson)-pretending to be an outlaw-and his moll-like girlfriend Sybil (Sierra McCormick), and a chatty local rancher (Jon Proudstar).

Later arriving at the diner are two sociopath bank robbers (Richard Brake, Nicolas Logan), who stole $700,000 and are on the lam with the loot hidden in the trunk of their green Pinto. They take everyone hostage in the diner when they realize the diner owner and salesman know from the radio that they are the wanted bank robbers.

Tension builds, as the hostages and bank robbers await the fuel truck’s arrival. During the wait, the hostages wrestle with the idea that they must deal with the situation on their own.

David (Sam Huntington) and his pregnant wife Sarah (Alex Essoe) drive up to the gas station along with their baby, just as there’s a multiple Mexican stand-off among the greedy diner patrons and bank robbers.

It’s an entertaining film that’s well-acted and funky.

REVIEWED ON 5/14/2024  GRADE: B+