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The Independent Critic

Kellan Lutz, Torrey DeVitto, Ola Rapace, Götz Otto, Christian Hillborg, Ellie Heydon, Brittany Gonzales
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi
31 Mins.

 "Divertimento" Finds Success on Fest Circuit 
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If you want evidence of the immense talent possessed by up-and-coming filmmaker Keyvan Sheikhalishahi, pretty much all you need to do is look at the fine quality of the ensemble he has assembled for his latest short film, the thrilling puzzler Divertimento. The film stars Kellan Lutz (Twilight films, FBI) as Jonas Olsen, a chess player haunted by a tragic past who is given the opportunity to participate in a mysterious game, Divertimento. 

Divertimento was shot just north of Paris, an 18th-century castle lending the film its aura of authenticity and gravitas amidst this constantly unwinding mystery that feels like it could be part James Bond and part Rian Johnson whodunnit. The film has played in 65 festivals worldwide and picked up 52 awards, a testament not only to the film's terrific ensemble, and it is terrific, but also to the mighty fine production team that Sheikhalishahi has assembled. Lensing by Jean-Claude Aumont is pristine and helps build the film's sense of mystery that becomes palpable at times. Original music by Greco Casadesus and Gregory Cotti is immersive and leans into the growing sense of tension over the course of the film's just shy of 31-minute running time. 

The top-notch Lutz is joined by the always sublime Torrey DeVitto (One Tree Hill, The Vampire Diaries), the latter an essential player in unraveling the film's intelligent mystery with a near perfect in store. Divertimento also benefits from the presence of Ola Rapace (Skyfall) and Bond vet Götz Otto among others. 

Divertimento is a thoughtful short film. It's the kind of short film that demands one's attention. It's not the kind of film you watch while folding the laundry, but instead Divertimento is the kind of film that requires you to watch every movement and listen to every word to understand the actions that are being taken and the games that are being played. 

And, oh yeah, games are being played. 

At a mere 21-years-old, it seems inevitable that Keyvan Sheikhalishahi will land in the world of feature films and cinema, whether in Europe or Hollywood, will be much better off for it. Both proficient behind the camera and a strong storyteller, Divertimento is likely his best film yet and one that will have you talking about its puzzle pieces long after the closing credits have rolled. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic