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The Independent Critic

Geoff Meed, Richard Portnow, Donnie Jeffcoat, Phil Idrissi
Barry Kneller

 "Hotchfeld" Review 
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Hotchfeld (Geoff Meed) is the head collector for Salvatore Vorrato (Richard Portnow), one of L.A.'s largest bookies. Hotchfeld's a master in the art of collection, and he's not exactly thrilled when Vorrato instructs him to take out his nephew for a bit of on-the-job training. Unknown to Hotchfeld, however, Vorrato's disgruntled right-hand man has a plan all his own.

Written and directed by Barry Kneller (Life of Lemon, Apple), Hotchfeld a technically proficient nearly 18-minute crime thriller about deceit and that almost undeniable truth that even the luckiest person alive eventually sees their luck end. The film centers around the calm, cool and collected performance of Geoff Meed as Hotchfeld, a man whose disdain for the gamblers he encounters is obvious and whose willingness to use any means necessary to collect a debt has made him one of the most respected collectors around.

Don Spangler's original score companions the film nicely, giving Hotchfeld a bit of a retro feel in the tradition of the gangster dramas of the 70's and 80's. D.P. Dana Rice lenses the film nicely, emphasizing character interaction moreso than the film's inherent violence.

There are times when Hotchfeld feels just a touch slow, with its confrontational scenes never really building to the point of feeling threatening or menacing. While it would have been a mistake to go too over-the-top with the intensity given the film's brevity, the lack of anxiety and intensity makes it difficult to become overly invested in the story or the film's characters. The end result is that Hotchfeld plays out like a well constructed film that fades from the memory far easier than Kneller intends.

It wouldn't be surprising, however, if the only recently completed Hotchfeld gets tightened up a bit as it weaves its way around the indie film fest circuit.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic