|SCENES OF THE CRIME
(director/writer: Dominque Forma; screenwriters: Amit
Mehta/Daniel Golka; cinematographer: James Bagdonus;
editor: Sid Levin; music: Christopher Young; cast: Jon Abrahams (Lenny
Burroughs), Jeff Bridges (Jimmy Berg), Peter Greene
(Rick Woods), Noah Wyle (Seth),
Morris Chestnut (Raymond),
Madchen Amick (Carmen),
R. Lee Ermey (Senile old
Gunton (Steven Wayne), Brian Goodman (Trevor
Morrison), Amy Zorek (Theresa),
Peck (Sharon), Justin Louis
(Louis), Nicholas Gonzalez (Marty), Jack Forbes (Tow
Truck Driver); Runtime: 95; MPAA
Rating: R; producer: Marc Frydman/Rod Lurie/Willie
Baer/Deborah Lee; Columbia Tri-Star; 2001-Germany/USA)
"A sizzler that someone like Sam Peckinpah would probably give his stamp of approval."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
French music video
director Dominique Forma's
debut feature urban crime drama is a sizzler that
someone like Sam
Peckinpah would probably give his stamp of approval.
The thriller is
co-written by the director, Amit Mehta and
Daniel Golka. Forma like the film's protagonist pays
homage to Steve
McQueen's Bullitt (1968) and the filmmaker gives the
film a menacing Sixties gangster flavoring.
It's supposedly based on a true story, but has the
feel of fiction.
amiable Lenny Burroughs (Jon
Abrahams) is set to marry his
pretty sweetheart Sharon (Mizuo Peck)
shortly. He's an enterprising grease monkey, with
ambitions to open his own auto mechanic shop. For some
extra cash and a chance of rubbing shoulders with a
local mobster he idolizes, the lad sometimes does
chauffeur duty for small fry tough-guy mobster Rick
Woods (Peter Greene)--one of his regular clients in
his workplace garage. Lenny skips his own bachelor
party to drive the thug on an errand that winds up unbeknownst to him in
the bloody kidnapping of soft-spoken mobster big-shot
Jimmy Berg (Jeff Bridges). After Rick talks by cell
phone with his mob boss Trevor Morrison (Brian Goodman), he's told to hold
Jimmy hostage until he works out a financial deal
with Jimmy's mob partner Steven Wayne (Bob Gunton).
But when Rick steps out of the van that's holding
Jimmy, he's run down by Wayne's goons. This leaves
the inexperienced Lenny holding a gun on Jimmy while
he's bound in the back of the parked van and
receiving orders on the cell phone from his new boss
Morrison, while surrounded in the street corner by a bunch of Wayne's mob enforcers who are
led by the wily and sinister Seth (Noah Wyle). The green kid is
clueless as to what's going down, but realizes his
life has changed forever as he's caught in the
middle of a mafia gang fight and doesn't know which
side to trust. But he learns on the fly
to trust his gut feelings and is willing to take risks
to make sure he comes out of this situation alive.
The film's innocent but not so innocent 'everyman' main character, Lenny, is in over his head, and how he deals with this explosive situation and the ensuing double-crosses and the questions of loyalty among the mobsters and twists in the plot is handled in a chillingly entertaining way. Its life lessons advocate that if 'no pain there's no gain.' The pic's an undiscovered gem in the gangster genre, with convincing and tight performances all around. Too bad it never got an audience and the studio released it in America as a straight to cable movie.
REVIEWED ON 5/31/2012 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ