Kris Salvi, Fiore Leo, Justin Thibault
Christopher Di Nunzio
"I Am a Rain Dog" Continues on Film Fest Circuit
There's something creepy cool about Christopher Di Nunzio's latest directorial effort, the nearly 12-minute short film I Am A Rain Dog, a noirish work of wonder starring Kris Salvi, who also penned the script, as Valentine Biltmore, a mysterious fellow with a dark edge who got lost while driving across the country to a destination that he can't quite name. In an effort to get found, he contacts an even more mysterious specialist names Vernon Weiss (Fiore Leo) to try to help him get back on track.
The two wax eloquently about whatever could be Valentine's "problem," though it's pretty darn clear here that "lost" has more than one meaning and the film's dark edge ultimately also makes it clear that there's a lot more at stake than simply directions. At least part of the reveal comes in the person of James Krumpt (Justin Thibault), though his exact role in this scenario is best left to a viewing of the film.
If you can read the title of the film, I Am A Rain Dog, without having a certain Tom Waits tune float through your mind then you're a better person than I am (and a musically deprived one). I'd swear, in fact, that the film's opening shot is quintessential Waits, Salvo's hair fluffed up in a way that evokes memories of classic Tom Waits and roadside motel rooms and smoke-filled air so thick you can barely see yourself.
Maybe you don't even want to. Ya know?
The performances here are uniformly strong, a fact that is nearly always true in Di Nunzio films. Salvi and Leo are an absolute delight, filling their silences with suspense and announcing every word with a breathlessness that leaves you hanging. Thibault, despite having only a brief appearance here, makes the most of it. Di Nunzio lenses and edits the film himself, infusing it with a serene grittiness that leaves you wondering exactly how all of this is going to unfold. You think you know, but you don't REALLY know.
I Am A Rain Dog is another low-budget indie gem from Di Nunzio, a film that's dark and suspenseful yet fun to watch unfold. With a terrific ensemble cast hitting all the right notes, this is definitely one to catch if it shows up at a fest near you.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic