The short of it? "One Penny" is a really great film. It's one of those few independent titles that manages to transcend the indie genre. What exactly do I mean? With low budget independent film, usually even the really good ones still proclaim they are indie, by way of the visual aspects. And so they should. A great indie film is something to be proud of. A great film is a great film. However, that certain "thing" that just looks independent is still ever present. That same "thing" that reasonably budgeted productions, studio or not, simply don't have. That look only micro-budget flicks seem to produce. We all know what I'm trying to say right? "One Penny" however, doesn't have this. Put simply, this film plays not only like it was produced by a larger studio, but like it had a decent, by normal film standards, budget behind it. That element that makes you, the viewer instantly think: Oh. It's an independent film... is nowhere to be seen. This is simply a great film to watch. You don't even have to bother specifying if it's indie or not. Because it doesn't look like it is. Other than that, all the pieces of a good drama are in place. An orphaned child. A murder. Life on the street, a love interest and of course, a gang of bullies. What's cool about "One Penny" however, is that the elements were all pieced together so darn perfectly. Writers David Melendez and Michael DeVita sure know how to mix a drink. All these little tid-bits come together to form a nicely paced drama, with a surprising end result. What's that you ask? Aside from being dramatic, as a drama should, it also ended up being one of those "feel good" movies. You know the ones I'm talking about, where the credits are rolling and you're feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. How the hell did that happen? More importantly when? Like I said, this is a drama and at times, quite dramatic... but that feel good aspect just kind of sneaks up on you. Complete with an awesome lead-up in the narrative, and a brilliant fight sequence, "One Penny" manages to actually make you care about these characters, and truly appreciate some of the more gritty entanglements they end up in. Back to what I said about mixing a drink, this is some well written stuff. Don't get me wrong with my mention of an awesome fight scene. This isn't an action film and isn't treated as such. But the action that is presented is... well... brutal. Straight up realism is the word of the day. No super hero stuff here. Like most of the other scenes in the movie, the grit of life is handled in a real way, but never over the top. So what about the unusual title? One Penny? Let me just say that the "penny" in question is the primer that gets the ball rolling. At the same time, it's not obsessed over. Just another tool to connect you to the film. That one... single... penny. Intended as an insult but becoming so much more. You may think my technical rant would be completely empty considering what I've written above. And you'd be almost right. My only real thing of note here, was maybe a few extra scenery shots. I love big city inserts as much as the next guy, but a few less would have dramatically quickened the pace for me. Not that it needed much quickening, this movie feels pretty much perfect length-wise. But I needed something... right? The cinematography itself is great. Nicely lit shots composed just right. Did I mention above that this film doesn't look low budget? Top this all off with excellent audio and a brilliant video edit. It's the perfect combination to show off some great performances by the cast. Yes ladies and gents. "One Penny" is a very well acted film. The biggest divide between indie and large studio productions, is the talent placed in front of the lens. Indie generally means lesser known actors, which also means hit-or-miss acting. Usually miss. The thing about "One Penny" is that after watching for a few minutes, your mind stops thinking that way, and these are not actors at all. They are people with their own stories to tell. Sure, the film follows a main narration and a main character directed nicely by Michael DeVita, but you just know that almost every person onscreen has their own personal story. See what I did there? I said person, not actor. That's the beauty of this title. It doesn't matter that they are lesser known actors because you don't see them as that. All you see is their onscreen personas. Our four lead characters? They especially happen to be spot on. What an excellent job. Same goes for the supporting cast. Without them being so good, the lead characters would have nothing to play off. Bottom line? The technicalities of this production are top notch. Take my word for it. "One Penny" is one of those films I wish I could have seen in the theater. There's no question. When excellent titles such as this come across my desk, it never ceases to amaze me. On one hand, if I didn't know this was a low budget indie film, my personal rating would still have been the same. It would just be: A great movie. The fact I know it's an indie, and it's this good, makes it so much sweeter. The goal of most indie filmmakers is a product that looks as far away from indie as possible. Mostly, even with the best stories, their movie still has that independent look to it. Here? It's gone. What makes things even better is that this would still be a great film; even if you could tell it was independent. You wouldn't care. A great film is a great film. "One Penny" is one of those, a really great film. Period.