STARRING Robert Dill, Duane Daniels, Zachary Block, Russell Whaley, Franklin Westbrooks, Austin Galante DIRECTED BY Zachary Block SCREENPLAY Russell Whaley, Zachary Block, Julianne Celeste, Joaquin F. Palma MPAA RATING NR RUNNING TIME 82 Mins. DISTRIBUTED BY Kavadba Entertainment (V)
"Fathoms Deep" Review
Hicks (Zachary Block) and Cash (Robert Dill) are puppets in a twisted line-up of crime lords and "not quite right in the head" villains, at least as much is obvious as a deal goes wildly bad in Fathoms Deep, an indie crime thriller directed by Block himself and co-written by Block, Russell Whaley, Julianne Celeste and Joaquin F. Palma.
Filmed on a modest $50,000 budget in California, Fathoms Deep is set against the backdrop of the Mojave Desert location where our two partners in crime must wait out the brewing storm with their safety man, Pox (Austin Galante), with the knowledge that opposing crime boss Lou Garris (Duane Daniels) is doing everything he can to hunt them down.
Starting off with the well spoken line "There are no good guys anymore," Fathoms Deep is a powerful ultra-indie that pushes the limits of its modest budget but never to the point that the inherent limitations detract from the entertainment value of the film.
While Fathoms Deep is definitely a collaborative project, Zachary Block is at the forefront of the film serving as producer, co-writer, director and one of the film's leads. While wearing multiple hats on a film production can be a hazard to the film, on many indie projects it's a necessity and not just an issue of an artist being unwilling to let go of control. While there are times, especially in shot clarity, where it seems like perhaps Block would have been better off stepping back from a couple of the tasks, overall his clarity of vision helps the film and it's pretty clear that his collaborators are all on the same page.
Fathoms Deep weaves together crime thrills, action, drama and even humor in telling the story of Hicks and Cash. All of these things work quite nicely thanks to the convincing chemistry of Block with co-star Robert Dill. The two work together well, whether the scene is light or incredibly heavy.
The remainder of the ensemble cast is also strong, with extra kudos going to Austin Galante as Pox, Linda Bella as Sarah and Duane Daniels as the baddie. While the tech credits occasionally flagged a bit given the budgetary constraints, it's impressive what was accomplished in the areas of cinematography, sound design and overall production design. It'll be interesting to see what Block can accomplish as his budgets increase and he continues to surround himself with high quality collaborators.
Fathoms Deep is available on DVD as an independent release by visiting the website for the film's production company, Kavadba Entertainment.