FILM INFO: The story of seven unlucky saloon patrons and one evil man.
WRITTEN BY: Travis Lee Eller DIRECTED BY: Tino Luciano GENRE: Western TIME: 8 minutes.
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Bad Men And The Devil ( 2017 )
I love western films. Newer ones, classics and of course anything with good 'ol Clint Eastwood in it. There's something about the people and locations that always make me long for simpler days. Even when watching the bad folks do what they do best, or in this case, narrate away the bad-ass lifestyle. "Bad Men And The Devil" does just that. We're treated to a promising opening segment, followed by our favorite bounty hunter talking his life away. Then, finally, right when we're expecting something... anything... our anti-hero simply picks up and leaves. It's really that simple and although I admire the simplicity of the western genre, I was a little let down. With all the trouble of creating the set, getting the wardrobe and even the props themselves, a little western sauce would have been the perfect ending for the dry spaghetti. Still, to write that I didn't enjoy this quick little film would make me a liar. I did enjoy it and all the memories it brought back. The only real dialog delivered in the film was done with a flare, and maybe even some love. The creepy, awkward narrative was performed in a completely believable way. The thing is, "Bad Men And The Devil" felt more like the pitch, as in looking for funding to complete an entire movie. Or maybe even a prologue, an advertisement for an upcoming feature. Although I sat and watched, I was waiting for a "Fund us on Kickstarter" graphic to appear. I reckin' that's a real dang shame. The puzzle pieces were all here just waiting to be put in place. Visually, this was nice looking short film. No poorly lit faces or shoddy camera work to pull you from the movie. I also appreciated the long, single take as our lead delivered his monologue. The only thing missing was an extreme close up. With that said, the pressure was on to make the lines count; and count they did. It would have been interesting to have had someone else, in the room listening to him rambling away, before being killed off at the end. Someone to interact and react with. Still, as far as lines go, the ones here sold the film. It's a safe bet to write that without such a strong delivery, "Bad Men And The Devil" would have fallen flat on it's face. That would have been a terrible shame. Travis Lee Eller and Tino Luciano have put together a decent piece of work. Some thought and care for the production does shine through, even if it is a little slow. Admitting I was a little flustered at the anti-climactic ending is easy, admitting I enjoyed the slow pacing is hard. As much as I was hoping to see a gun battle, the essence of the genre was still captured rather well. If only it didn't feel like a pitch... or even a class project. I would love to see something larger come out of this short film but as it stands right now, it's a good way to kill a few minutes. -JT