David Graziano, Fiore Leo
Christopher Di Nunzio
Movie Review: Clean Up Duty
Henry (David Graziano) is in witness protection going about his mundane daily routine. Lou (Fiore Leo) is an old friend who drops by looking for a bit of payback.
What stands between them may not be the barrel of a gun.
As he does so often and so well, director Christopher Di Nunzio plops us seemingly in the middle of a world of hard men doing hard things in a hard-ass world. Initially, it's unclear if there's a sympathetic character here. One never knows. Henry is a wary sort, the kind of guy who's seen a few things and done a few things and who is always on the lookout for the consequences of those things.
When one of those consequences shows up, we automatically tense up. We've been here before, after all. Of course, as he also often does Di Nunzio takes us down some unexpected roads with both characters being not quite what we ever expected and the story going down a unique and original path thanks to screenwriter Skip Shea's storytelling.
We've seen both Graziano and Leo work with Di Nunzio before. We've also seen Leo's fine work in David O' Russell's Joy among other projects. This New England-based project is what we've come to expect from everyone involved, both the predictable and the twists and turns.
Graziano is, as always, a blast to watch here and Leo finds every little nuance along the way. Together, they're a dynamic duo.
Di Nunzio does his own editing and lensing for the film and wisely never shows us his cinematic cards until he's good and ready to let us in.
Clean Up Duty picked up the Best Dark Comedy prize at the Avalonia Festival, a solid clue that this is a film with more than a few laughs to be had and yet a willingness to set them down smack dab in the darkness. The film is still very early in its indie festival run and should no doubt pick up a few more awards along the way.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic