OUT OF SEASON
(director/writer: Jevon O’Neill; cinematographer: Nic Morris; editors: Mark Aarons/Rodney Holland; music: Guy Farley; cast: Dennis Hopper (Harry Barlow), Gina Gershon (Eileen Phillips), David Murray (Simeon Guant), Jordan Frieda (Pierre), Dominique Swain (Kelly Phillips), Jim Carter (Michael Philipps), William Armstrong (Fraser MacDonald), Cristina Serban Ionda (Molly Barlow), Alin Olteanu (Harry Barlow as a youngster); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Kim Leggatt; HBO; 2004-UK)
“Unappealing neo-noir film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Writer-director Jevon O’Neill (“Bob’s Weekend”) sets his unappealing neo-noir film at an unnamed bleak seaside small town tourist spot in the winter off season. The following action takes place: temp summer roller coaster worker Pierre (Jordan Frieda) is lured to stay in town for the winter when his season salary is stolen from the hiding place in the wall of his apartment and settles into town by becoming a thief in training; a fanatical religious handyman drifter living in a seedy hotel named Simeon (David Murray) is boffing the unhappy wife, Eileeen (Gina Gershon), of the struggling roller coaster park owner Michael (Jim Carter), and doing odd petty criminal jobs around town and in his leisure time praying at the local church; struggling third-generation roller coaster park owner Michael (Jim Carter)Kelly is trying to secure a loan from the oily bank officer (William Armstrong), who is holding him up for ten percent share in the park. (Dominique Swain) is the scheming temptress daughter of Michael’s who hates her cheating stepmother Eileen and got Simeon to rob Pierre’s stash so he won’t leave town, and is planning to have her boyfriend Pierre rob the jewels in the safe in daddy’s bedroom so they can run away together; ‘the life has passed me by’ seedy bar owner, the elderly Harry (Dennis Hopper), has a secret that he was a former Chicago cat burglar for the mob who was forced by them to retire after taking a bullet in the leg (forcing him to be gimpy and unable to burgle) and who is teaching Pierre how to pick locks so they can be partners.
When Eileen arranges to have Simeon murder her husband and Kelly gives Pierre the combination to her father’s safe, the double-crosses begin. The results are gory that include a bloody climax of a crucifixion, a hanging, a bludgeoning with a hammer, a stabbing and a shooting, as all the main characters somehow converge on the rainy night that coincidentally has Pierre robbing the house safe at the same time Simeon is scheduled to murder either Eileen or Michael.
The gruesome, pointless and revolting flick was filmed in Romania. It’s such a perverse film without any redeeming social value, that one can only wonder what the filmmaker was thinking when he put such crap together and what the mostly established name cast was thinking when they signed onto this project. There’s no way they could have signed on to be in a low-budget flick that is permanently out of season just for the allure of shooting in Romania, unless the mob had something on them and put the squeeze on them.
REVIEWED ON 3/17/2009 GRADE: D