May 10, 2008

DVD Review: A Perfect Place

A Perfect Place is a 25 minute long short written, directed, edited, and produced by Derrick Scocchera, co-founder of Fantoma films. Fantoma Films is an independent label that has specialized in rare and cult titles prior to this release. A Perfect Place marks their first entry into the original film market. It is a modest production that uses it's low budget roots to craft an interesting short involving accidental murder, old ladies, beat up cars, and unexpected results.

Mark Boone, Jr. (Batman Begins, 30 Days of Night) is Tom, a strange and quiet man who we first meet holding a bass guitar over the fallen body of a friend. Standing next to him is the tightly wound Eddie, played by Bill Moseley (The Devil's Rejects, Carnivale). Eddie is incredulous over what he has just witnessed. They look at the prone body of their friend. The man lies dead on the floor as Eddie and Tom talk about what they are supposed to do next. Well, the obvious answer is get rid of the body, but where and how?

Eddie knows what to do; he has "a perfect place." However, before they can jet off, they must obtain transportation. I would love to say more, but being a short film, I would not be able to go very much further without giving everything away.

There is not much to the movie, but it is easy to slip into the situation. It almost feels as if one sequence was taken out of a larger work, giving us a glimpse into the results of the first act, while leaving us out of the consequences in the third act. Still, it works perfectly well as a short film unto itself.

The acting is spot on. Mark Boone, Jr. is rather creepy and unsettling. He doesn't say or do all that much, but he comes across as someone who could snap at any moment. Meanwhile, Bill Moseley brings a touch of the frantic to Eddie, sort of like his Otis character from The Devil's Rejects if he was on the receiving end rather than the giving. The two work well together, and the sequence with the old woman (Isabelle Maynard) is quite humorous.

Writer/Director Derrick Scocchera has written a fun, simple story that is none too complicated, yet does offer a little bit of depth, thanks to his words in conjunction with the lead performances. He also brings a nice, noirish look to the film, working with director of photography Hiro Narita. The black and white project, shot on 35mm film, has a nice feel to it. The film is not too crowded, and makes nice use of shadow.

The DVD is nicely presented, although I did notice some edge enhancement, in 2.35:1 widescreen. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 and there are no subtitles. The lone extra is a trailer for the feature.

An interesting thing to note is that this film is not being marketed as such; rather, it is being marketed as Mike Patton's first film score, as it is being released as a special edition digipak that includes both the score album, which runs longer than the film itself, and the DVD of the film. This would presumable be because, in addition to the difficulties of marketing an independently produced short film without a strong advertising campaign, Mike Patton's name is much more well known and will appeal to his fanbase. In this way they are killing two birds with one stone, getting fans more Patton created music and gaining exposure for this well-made short film.

Bottomline. This is a good short. It may not be terribly deep or have much in the way of subtext, but it is an interesting journey into the misadventures of these two men. We are given just enough to tell this particular section of the story, while the groundwork is laid to let the viewer fill in the blanks with their own versions of the story regarding what led to this point and what could possibly happen in its aftermath.



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