It’s 11:03 am
Looking outside as the snow has started falling again,I am supposed to be running some errands but the snow may have other ideas. I did not make my usual library run this week as we had 6-8 inches of snow and that kept me inside.
What better way to spend a snow day then to watch a new indie film that New York filmmaker J. Antonio dropped our way. The cheetah curled up on my chest and we away we go…..
“Night Job” is the story of a young man’s first night as a doorman at a New York City apartment complex. James (Jason Torres) is 23,a little naive but has a good head on his shoulders. It’s a good thing that he does because in the next 8 hours,he is going to meet all sorts of interesting people that will be coming through his lobby.
I really like the plot device of a certain set time from,in James’s case,its a 8 hour overnight shift. He is ready to go but because he hasn’t seen what is coming his way in terms of both strangers and tenants,it makes “Night Job” a lot fun. Or would have if director Antonio hadn’t made a critical error is the movie’s score. This is a comedy movie yet the score belongs in a private eye movie from the 1940s. It is totally out of place here and its a bit jarring and takes away from the comedy. It’s the one singular thing I would have replaced about “Night Job”.
The cast was earnest and fun in many places but you can definitely tell the difference between the professional actors and the friends who were asked to help out. The characters played by actors just stood out much more brightly…Lester Greene as a traveling DVD bootlegger a hoot,our old friend Timothy J. Cox has the biggest laughs as “Mr. Jones” who gets locked out of his apartment and has to deal with a locksmith who attempts to jack the cost of getting a replacement key. The funniest part of the movie for sure.
Bettina Skye as Stella,a woman slowly going blind,was excellent. The scene between James and Stella was funny,tender and genuine. I thought the interaction between these two strangers showed Jame’s gentle heart and compassion. Torres is really strong here,This was the best scene in the film.
But a lot of scenes had a lot of non-actors and between bad line readings,looking at the camera directly and stilted performances,it sort of slowed the film down a bit. This is more of a budget issue then anything else. But everyone does their best and that is the main thing to remember when you watch this.
Antonio shot “Night Job” in black and white and it looks GREAT,this was a innovative choice for a young film maker and really made you wish he had indeed added a little mystery to his script,nothing dramatic or heavy but something that James could have investigated while on his break and/or lunch. Instead we get the second thing I disliked about this film and that was the dream sequence that James has when he dozes off. It had nothing to do with the story line and it ruined the pacing of the movie. We don’t want to see James dreaming,we want to see some more interesting guests. That is where the laughs are coming from.
So “Night Job” is a mixed bag for me,several parts I enjoyed and others I just didn’t.
The camera work and direction were strong,Antonio will only get better with each project as long as he can surround himself with acting talent like Skye,Cox and Greene.
“Night Job” which has yet to be released has a run time of 81 minutes and would be rated “R” language.
I gave “Night Job” a thumbs up,I liked the ambition and drive behind it.
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