Being a masterful hustler has kept Reyna in the game for a long time, apparently. Yet like many before her, she's simply had enough - a change of scenery and quite possibly a different life has been tugging at her and tonight, she plans to get the job done and get the hell out. With her friend Monique in tow, possibly her best friend, the duo set up a meeting to offload a much-desired item. We never actually get to see what this item is, but Reyna's asking price of $150K is borderline criminal - said item is apparently worth much, much more. Christmas time for the buyer no doubt.
Yohimbe, a tech wizard who is more than a little shady himself is the buyer - and after confirmation of value from an outside source, the deal is all but set. It's looking like Reyna will get her wish, and finally be able to leave her current life behind and start anew. However, as you might suspect, things go sideways. The no-nonsense Reyna and her trusted partner in crime Monique find themselves in a spot of trouble - caught in the middle of a standoff. Much like the cliche police captain who gets offed a week before retirement, Reyna finds herself in a potentially deadly situation. It figures right? Can she and Monique get out alive? You'll simply have to find out for yourself but one thing is clear, when "Reyna" becomes available to watch, there's no reason not to check it out. It's under half an hour after all, and should easily do the trick if you're looking for a quick entertainment fix.
On a technical level, "Reyna" hits most of the right marks. Some of the shots are brilliantly framed, giving off the street life look and feel you're probably expecting from this short film. The real-time grit and dirtiness of "the life" is adequately represented and even the audio is mostly handled nicely. All this is held together by an edit that more-or-less does the trick, although a few times coming across a little clunky feeling.
The props however, especially the guns, are awesome to see onscreen - and my favorite part of the film was the standoff situation close to the end. Oh, and I also loved the extra piece at the very end involving Monique and a certain finger extension. I actually chuckled - awesome! With all the good however, I did find some of the acting a little questionable. Perhaps a little more downplayed than it should have been, a little unnatural, a tad hollow. This is an indie film, and as such you really can't expect Oscar-worthy performances all the time - but at certain points in this film, it almost felt like lines were being delivered directly from the script. This was never a case closed kind of issue, and not all the time - but noticeable all the same. On the flip side, there were more than a few moments of brilliance from the cast - so it's a mixed bag kind of observation.
When it's all said and done? "Reyna" hit a hell of a lot more marks than it missed and most viewers should leave the film quite satisfied. It's not perfect, it's not brilliant, but it's pretty damn alright. The fact that it also happens to be a very quick film leaves very little reason not to check it out when the time comes. Akinola Hassan has written and directed a great little diversion, brought to life by a group of very talented people. An easy three stars.