Short Film Review “The Other Place”

   

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE

First, the Recap:

You know how sometimes we forget? An appointment, a date, the grocery list, an anniversary, a birthday, it can go on and on. But what if you’re in the criminal underworld and someone has done you wrong? Will it be forgotten to seek out revenge? Will it be forgotten who exactly will be the recipient of it? For one Mafioso (Lee Amir-Cohen), forgetfulness comes far too often thanks to an ongoing battle against amnesia. Trying to maintain any sense of current situations or reality in general becomes a burden which stresses him out beyond his already volatile manner.

Now on the job, he and his equally cunning fiancé (Amanda Maddox) have taken captive the local DA (Cameron Diskin) and his wife (Shoshana Bush), fully under the impression he has been betrayed by them both. Even as the pained statements of regret and unbelief flood out of this hardened yet distracted Mafioso in regard to the exposure he’s suffered due to his prisoner’s actions, the torture nor the pleas of the captives to think about what he’s doing only cause the mobster to further lose patience and control, much to the delight of his sister who watches and waits for it all to end. Yet, even after it does, the ramifications of the choices made have farther reaching outcomes than realized, even as the clock resets once again in a fractured mind.

Next, my Mind:

For this 18-minute crime drama, writer/director/actor Lee Amir-Cohen creates a wonderfully unique atmosphere to stage this tension-filled encounter between a mobster and his prey by having the villain be fighting against his own will and wayward thoughts while attempting to extract information from and exact revenge on the two people he is convinced betrayed him, all the while not able to fully comprehend who it actually is that he has in his possession. To further the eerie dilemma, there’s the facet introduced in having his fiancé as his compatriot, and it makes one wonder the whole time if she is aware of the actual situation unfolding and yet still allows it all to run its course, figuring on her mate’s forgetfulness to erase any cognizant recollection of what he’s done. Finding out the answer to it allows the film’s chaotic, violent, and impactful finale to make the impression it’s intended to, with the additional punch of seeing how the mobster’s amnesia kicks back in. It’s a shrewd and savvy narrative, taking things to another level beyond just harsh language and cruelty.

Amir-Cohen is intense and very driven in his role as the Mafioso, a man of expectedly edgy and dangerous demeanor who doesn’t take lightly the fact he’s been, supposedly, betrayed by those he trusted. Showing his neglect for any pity, the rants and raves he goes off on are filled with an almost confused yet well-founded rage, and his buttons are easily pushed once his captive decides to take his own statements too far. Yet, there is that sense of disturbed and borderline penitent attitude the mobster has in the aftermath of it all, soothed only by his sister in a crude and really heartless way, all to try and make him forget even more what he’s done and to calm him down. The ultimate endgame is harsh in itself, but puts such a poignant exclamation point to the journey of an afflicted mind, very well played by Amir-Cohen. Maddox is also quite effective in her role as his fiancé, a woman with no scruples who loves to add her own sense of menace as she fully delights in the maltreatment of the pair’s detainees. Yet, we again see she is the necessary medium of control for her amnesiac soulmate, the one source to slow down his malice, even if by overtly ill ways. Maddox embodies this character’s dynamics with style and finesse.

Diskin and Bush are solid as the DA and his wife taken captive by the mobster, and its their desperation and attempts to unnerve and dissuade their captor from harming them needlessly that adds the suspense to events, especially given the relationship to the Mafioso they each represent. Knowing what the outcome will be for them, both Diskin and Bush play on the fear and ire the two have towards their would-be executioner with urgency while not overacting or being melodramatic, a credit to the two actors. So, in total, while there were certain bouts of language and content this reviewer could have done without in the grand scheme of the greater story, “The Other Place” is a well-done piece of independent cinema, astute in its delivery, unique in its narrative, and definitely addresses its title’s concept in a multitude of ways, whether it be the reality of the world around the mobster or within his own head.

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

 

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