The Living is a neo noir from writer and director Jack Bryan. This film made the independent film festival circuit in 2014 and was recently released on DVD. This film is a bit of a slow burn, but very interesting. It is especially interesting on what Bryan left out as much as what he has put in the film.
The film starts out with Teddy, played by Fran Kranz on the floor of his living-room and waking up disoriented. Teddy gets in his truck and heads down the road. He pulls up to a house where we see Gordon played by Kenny Wormald and Angela played by Joelle Carter. They are angry with Teddy and start arguing with him. We then find out why, when Molly played by Jocelin Donahue is reveled. Molly is Teddy’s wife and comes out of the house severely beaten. Supposedly Teddy has beat Molly the night before and Molly escaped back to her mother’s home. Molly ends up going home with Teddy to try to work out their problems. Gordon, Molly’s brother, decides to take justice in his own hands and when he tells his friends, one comes through with a guy who knows a guy….
This is where the film splits into two different tangents as Teddy and Molly start to work out their demons and it almost comes across as a romantic drama. The other story line is Gordon travelling to pick up his hired hit-man played by Chris Mulkey.
This film never shows Teddy drunk and hitting his wife, all we see is a loving Teddy trying to win back his wife. I think this adds to the shock and who we are cheering for as the film goes on. This is an interesting take on varying degrees of evil men and how those evil men change good men. Chris Mulkey’s portrayal of a hit-man steals the show as he isn’t the glamour hit-man we have come to expect. He has a sense of realism that is more than a little scary.
This film is worth checking out with what seems like a simple plot, but it has a lot going on. This is Bryan’s second film and he shows great promise. I hope he explores more neo noir projects in the future.