It’s 10:03 pm
Most new film directors when starting out,start small. They make music videos,film comedy sketches,make short films. Learning to make a film is not easy nor is it cheap to do. There is a lot of details that go into creating a film and for a new director,they can be quickly overwhelmed by all the details.
So when first time director Lisa Mikitarian sent over her first film for Paladin and I to watch,we expected a short film as we usually get. Imagine our surprise to see “Spent” was a full length feature film,we were impressed by the sheer ambition of Lisa.
But did she gamble a little too much too soon? Because not only was she the director but it was her script as well! Quite a undertaking for a first time film maker.
The cheetah and I grabbed our snacks and away we go…..
Herbert and Evelyn Schumacher have been married for 25 years. While Herbert has been rather happy,poor Evelyn feels that the day she got married,time simply stopped.
While everyone around them has moved forward in life,thanks to Herbert’s penny pinching ways,the Schumacher’s are still living 25 years in the past. Their home is outdated,their clothes,the car…it’s liked they escaped Pleasantville and there is no Tobey Maguire to rescue them.
Lonnie,their only child has grown up under the same dreary conditions. Both Evelyn and Lonnie are tired of Herbert’s miserly ways and dream of the day they can actually get a little money and live like other people.
When Herbert gets cancer and goes into the hospital not expecting to come out alive,it’s like a miracle for Evelyn and Lonnie. They know that with Herbert dying,they’ll be coming into the money that they feel is their right.
But why wait for that final breath? Evelyn takes up a lover in small business owner Gregory while Lonnie has a dream car along with the sexy and sultry saleswoman Margo,who is the one selling it to him. Both Evelyn and Lonnie are spending cash like there is tomorrow not realizing those small purchases are adding up and adding up quickly.
So imagine to their shock and horror that Herbert isn’t going to die as his massive tumor has vanished and his cancer has gone into remission as well. He will be getting out of the hospital and coming home!
Both Evelyn and Lonnie race home to see how much money they have spent in the three months that Herbert has been in the hospital.
Both Evelyn and Lonnie have some hard news to share to both Gregory and Margo. Neither mother or son know about the other’s secret and don’t see each other when they meet their special friends at a local diner. They both tell Gregory and Margo that there is no future windfall and while Margo of course is completely turned off,Gregory comes up with a more “practical solution”. It’s one that worked in the case of his getting his business from his mother.
Lonnie and Evelyn both leave the diner and that is when Gregory happens to meet Margo. Sparks start to fly as they introduce themselves by way of a business card.
Soon Lonnie and Evelyn decide to take Gregory’s advise and when Herbert comes home,devise a way to kill him. While they both back out at the last minute,Gregory and Margo have joined forces to help the process along,with anywhere from 500,00 to 2 million dollars at stake…..
How will Herbert react when he discovers what his wife and son have done? Will mother and son indeed conspire to get the rest of cash? Will Gregory and Margo become the new couple in town? Who doesn’t like pizza? And what exactly happened to the 28 squirrels in the park? Well,you’ll have to watch “Spent” to find out….
So how did director/writer Lisa Mikitarian do in terms of her first feature. I would say pretty good in some areas,the story was very interesting if not a bit uneven. The first two acts were light and breezy but the last third got way too dark and it felt out of place in relation to what we had seen. It’s a bit jarring to say the least but if that is how it was going to played,I think the changeover should have started sooner. But it’s still a good story.
The movie looks great as well and this was because of veteran cinematographer David Doko. The colors were vibrant and the black and scenes were also top notch,especially in the last third of the film. It felt very noir-ish.
My only two things I didn’t care for here was the musical score,not the score itself but how it was used…it was over used to the point of distraction. The same clip seemed to pop up in every scene and that got tiresome.
The cast while game,just wasn’t very good outside Tony Villa who played Gregory and Madeline Mikitarian who played Margo. I found myself more interested in watching those two then anyone else.
Villa was both charming and slightly slimy as Gregory while Madeline played a perfect femme fatale. Connie Lamothe had good moments playing Evelyn but the rest of the cast was still pretty raw. In several scenes it seemed they were reading off cue cards.
But that is more of a inexperienced cast then one with no skills. With added work and roles,they’ll only get better.
I think Lisa Mikitarian will not have trouble attracting a slightly more experienced casting movie forward. She showed remarkable poise in her directing debut and I cannot overstate how daring it was to film a full length feature as a debut.
So the cheetah and I both liked “Spent” enough to recommend it and we can’t wait to see what Lisa Mikitarian comes with next. We give “Spent” a thumbs/paw straight up.
“Spent” is rated “PG” and has a run time of 1 hour and 40 minutes.
You can watch “Spent” on Amazon.
Have you watched “Spent”? If so,drop us a comment below!