Review: The Girl Is in Trouble

The Girl Is in Trouble is a neo noir from 2015 and the biggest names attached to this film are Spike Lee as the Executive Producer and The 70’s Show’s Wilmer Valderrama as our dangerous gangster.  I do think someday soon the biggest name attached to this project will be the writer and director Julius Onah.  Onah made this film while still a graduate student at New York University’s Graduate Film Program.  He has already been attached to direct some big Hollywood movies in the next few years.

This movie was influenced by classic film noirs filmed in New York City.  This movie has a lot of the classic film noir traits:

Our main character uses a voice over to tell his story

The femme fatale

the main character is in over his head in a problem he didn’t create

Red Herrings

The story is told with flashbacks

The ending we know will not be a happy one no matter how it turns out

Our femme fatale is played by Alicja Bachleda and she is the girl in trouble.  We see her witness what appears to be a murder as she films it with her phone. She is on the run, afraid for her life.  When she can not find help from the people close to her, she calls an acquaintance who is a contact in her phone.  That acquaintance is played by Columbus Short and gets sucked into helping her, even though he knows from the start that things will not turn out well.

Other important characters are Jesse Spencer’s spoiled rich kid and Kareem Savinon’s young drug dealer.  We also have appearances from acting vets Mike Starr and Paz de la Huerta in minor roles.

This film’s most original idea is that it revolves around immigrants living in New York City and how they get by.  Our protagonist is from Nigeria, our femme fatale is from Europe.  Also our gangster and our drug dealer are brothers of Dominican descent.

Though this is not an instant classic or even that great of a film, for a first full length feature film from a young director it is a good outing.  Onah is a talented storyteller and I look forward to seeing what he can do with a bigger budget and more time.  This film seems to be fairly well received from critics, but not as well liked among the general movie goer.  I thought it was a decent film worth viewing.  A good choice for noir fans looking for something new to watch.

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Re-watching the Classics: A Fresh Look at Miller’s Crossing

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Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, the Coen Brothers, neo noir legends that have made so many classic modern noir films it’s hard to pick a favorite.  This is not me picking my favorite of Coen Brothers film, this is me reviewing the one I think is the most underrated.  After their debut Blood Simple and before the Oscar-winning Fargo, both classics, they made a small movie called Miller’s Crossing.  The Coen’s used a mishmash of noir legend Dashiell Hammett books to write this story.

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Gabriel Byrne plays our hero, a gangster with a gambling problem.  He’s the right hand man of the boss played by Albert Finney.  Both of them are in love with our femme fatale Verna, played by Marcia Gay Harden.  The plot is further complicated by Verna’s brother, played by John Turturro, who is always in trouble and Verna is using anybody and everybody to protect him.  A boxing match is being fixed by competing gangster Johnny Casper played by Joe Polito, but somebody is leaking the information.  We see cameo’s by Steve Buscemi and Frances McDormand, Coen Brother favorites, and a cool cameo from director Sam Raimi.  J.E. Freeman as the Dane and Mike Starr as Frankie play great heavies.

This story is full of plot twists you don’t see coming in classic noir style.  It takes place in the late 1920’s maybe early 1930’s, we have corrupt cops, back stabbing gangsters, gamblers, murder, great dialog, and sets.  If you like the Coen Brothers and have not seen this movie it, do it!  Great film worth a viewing.