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The Independent Critic

Caroline Anderson, Vivian Belosky, Jamie Ragusa, Casey Sullivan, Brette Spiekerman, Jason Alan Collins
Pat Bradley
20 Mins.

 "Double Zero" a Tense, Effective Thriller Short 
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Writer/director Pat Bradley's action/thriller short Double Zero is a tense and engaging drama about two mid-level criminals who botch a crucial job for one of the most ruthless crime bosses in the country and pay the price with a twisted, modified game of Russian Roulette to determine which one of them is going to survive the night. 

An award-winner on the indie/microcinema scene, Double Zero is action-packed and even though the story plays out in a somewhat familiar fashion it's a compelling story thanks to Bradley's ensemble cast and an atmosphere that practically screams out suspense.

We're introduced to the two criminals, Olivia (Caroline Anderson) and Diana (Vivian Belosky), as the two are contemplating their failures with a mixture of false bravado, fear, and a temptation to run away from someone whom they absolutely seem to know will find them. 

That someone, Alvara, is played by a screen-dominating Jamie Ragusa. Taking a role we often see played by men, Ragusa absolutely and masterfully owns the screen as a woman determined to get the answers she wants no matter the cost. The way she brings Alvara to life on the screen is a thing of beauty and both fun to watch and more than a little bit horrifying. 

Casey Sullivan rounds out the major players here as Ray, Alvara's henchman who seems incredibly eager to simply handle Alvara's problem but who is kinda sorta reined in by Alvara's taunting and teasing approach. 

The original music by Steve Zink builds in intensity over the course of the film's 20-minute running time and immerses us in the growing tension is sublimely paced by Bradley. Lensing by Travis Dover is dark and gritty and capturing of facial expressions and the little jumps we all do when we're a combination of both scared and surprised by what happens around us. 

While Double Zero tells a fairly familiar story, Bradley adds some unique nuances here to draw us in and keep us holding on from beginning to end. The two leads are both engagin, Caroline Anderson's Olivia breathing into her sense of bravado no matter how precarious her situation gets and Vivian Belosky's Diana adding a rich layer of humanity as it seems clear that Alvara is able to get a little more under her skin. 

For more information on Double Zero, visit the film's website and watch for it at a festival near you.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic