|WELCOME TO PINE HILL (director/writer: Keith Miller; screenwriter: story by Keith Miller; cinematographers: Alex Mallis/Lily Henderson/Begonia Colomar; editor: Keith Miller; music: Michael Rosen; cast: Shannon Harper (Shannon /Abu), Keith Miller (Keith), Mary Meyers (Mother), Ernest Bastien (Friend #1); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Elisabeth Holm/Keith Miller; Oscilloscope Laboratories; 2012)|
angst over the city's diversity seems
by Dennis Schwartz
Miller ("The Visit") is the writer-director of
this slice-of-life drama, that mixes together fiction
and reality in its semi-improvised
presentation. It's a follow-up to his 2010 Prince
William short. The pic opens with the white director
walking his dog at night in Pine Hill and encountering
a burly black Pine Hill, Brooklyn neighbor, Shannon
Harper, a former drug dealer gone legit as a
midtown insurance adjustor by day,
bouncer by night, who claims that's his lost dog and
wants it back. Shannon claims he owned the dog until
it got loose two months ago and the nervous Keith
tries to find a way to keep the dog, even if means
shelling out $250.
cheaply made short was the winner of the jury
prize for best feature at the 2012 Slamdance Film
story turns on Shannon receiving a life-threatening
cancer report and thereby trying to square things with
friends, family and his former criminal associates
without telling them of his immanent death. It
concludes with Shannon inexplicably hitting the hiking
trails of the Catskill Mountains for the first
time and it concludes with the dying cancer patient
vanishing into the woods at nightfall.
soft-spoken giant African-American is a menacing
figure, as he appears easygoing but gives off possible
bad guy vibes.
The dialogue is stilted and the viewing from the shaky handheld camera is annoying, but the urban angst over the city's diversity seems authentic and the intimate performance by Shannon gives the pic an edge.
REVIEWED ON 12/1/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ