Short Film Review “Blood Allegiance”



First, the Recap:

Family ties. Kinship. These are the bonds we are supposed to cherish, respect, weather the storms with, and stand firm by through any other circumstance that would seek to destroy them. However, what happens when one elements enters the picture that almost always seems to create chaos more than promote harmony–money. In the wake of their father’s passing, two brothers, John (Alex Witherow) and Luke (Brian Patrick Murphy), come back together after years apart. Considered the black sheep of the family, Luke is still hesitant to embrace any potential thought that his father actually loved him. Still trying to be amicable with each other, John and Luke seem to be heading back their separate ways yet again.

The disclosure of their father’s will, however, changes everything radically. Luke’s unanticipated arrival at their family lawyer Peter’s (Bruce Sabath) office for the reading throws John into a tailspin when a startling amendment to the will is revealed.  Refusing to accept it, John demands Luke rectify things while telling a tale of his wife Elizabeth’s (Blair Busbee) illness that is threatening to break them financially. Making things worse, another blow is dealt to Luke when he’s advised by his bosses at work, Dave (Wes Hager) and Susan (Amanda Brooke Lerner), that things aren’t copacetic there anymore. Angered and betrayed, Luke seeks out John and confronts him about the lies and deceit occurring, discovering the truth, yet reacting in the last way anyone expects.

Next, my Mind:

Director Anthony Grasso and writer/actor Witherow present a solidly executed, smartly written piece of indie film drama in telling a story of family, shattered associations, blatant falsifications, and hidden truths while also surprising us with a potent moral lesson in forgiveness and turning the other cheek. The mere notion of how one person greatly wronged can find within them the fortitude to be the bigger, and better, man even in the face of their own sense of resentment and humiliation is a lesson so highly needed in this day and age, and hence why the relevancy of it beyond just the context of this narrative resonates for this reviewer. Clearly shot cinematography follows the action with precision here as well, and the pacing is well-planned out to keep the story moving forward without losing any momentum, which is still possible to have happen, even in short film offerings.

Witherow enacts the elder brother John, a successful businessman and “star” of the family for the efforts made to take care of an ailing father for many years after the absence of his brother and other factors entered in.  However, watching how quickly he reacts negatively at the will reading and his subsequent attitude following those revelations, it leads one to wonder exactly whether he’s the man of integrity we’ve been made to believe, and Witherow brings out this dynamic very well here. Murphy takes on the role of John’s younger brother Luke, an individual with a chip on his shoulder after what seems to have been a decidedly harsh childhood in how he was treated by the pair’s father. Only back to pay quick respects, it seems Luke’s path to be away again is set until a whirlwind of events occur that completely change his tune.  But, even then, he has to navigate unexpected bitterness and underhanded actions by John, then make a choice that will ultimately define them both, and Murphy performs this eve-fluctuating character development wonderfully.

Supporting turns are present from Sabath as the family’s lawyer who gets to deliver the will’s contents to the brothers, much less weather the initial aftermath, Busbee as John’s wife Elizabeth who really becomes an unwilling participant in the building animosity between her husband and Luke, Hager and Lerner as Luke’s construction job bosses who are unaware of the part they end up playing in the feud, as well as Evelyn Madera, a family friend at the father’s funeral. In total, “Blood Allegiance” is another fine example of short film wonder via its ability to engage you throughout with a full story and satisfying resolution in only 12 minutes, a testament to the directing and writing talent existing within a still underappreciated genre found in the filmmaking world.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!


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