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The Independent Critic

Paul Arthaud, Jade Kilburn, Kent Koren, Greyson Lewis, Thomas D. Weaver, Lara Wolf
Naman Gupta
Marqus Bobesich (Based on a short by), Naman Gupta (Story, Screenplay)
30 Mins. 


 "Lilly Riggs" Continues on Indie Festival Run 
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A rare neo-noirish short film that actually lives up to what it means live within the noirish world where it is set, Naman Gupta's Lilly Riggs crackles with old school authenticity and a style so pervasive that you practically expect Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra to walk out from the shadows with a billowing cigarette in one hand and a sultry dame in the other. 

This doesn't happen, really, but Lilly Riggs still looks and feels like a film you'd have watched 50 or so years ago when gumshoe detectives walked broken sidewalks and backstreet deals kept the city alive in the hours after dark. It is in this world that a dizzying scenario unfolds, Lilly (Lara Wolf) inadvertently pegging the reclusive Blondie (Paul Arthaud) to his latest crime, a crime that was supposed to be his last crime. It was a crime that was supposed to provide a way out, but now the plot thickens as the way out may be the way back in. 

Based upon a short by Marqus Bobesich, Lilly Riggs is a stylish, immersive thriller with personality galore and Jon Carr's expert lensing that avoids the typical monochromatic noirish flourishes in favor of a washed out 70's vibe with the grittiness of a Goodfellas or Taxi Driver but a noteworthy absence of blood or gore. David Obaniyi's original music wraps the story around its rhythmic fingers, floating across the film's backdrop and giving the film its electricity and intensity. 

Yet, there's something about Arthaud's performance here that simply makes the film. It's a weaving together of grizzled, lifeworn physicality with vocal work that makes you think he could have made it as a beat poet if his life hadn't turned out this way. 

But, yeah. His life turned out this way. 

Lara Wolf absolutely sizzles here, while Greyson Lewis's Zero seems like your average wannabe punk who can't quite be a punk when it really matters. It's probably gonna' cost him, ya know? 

The Independent Critic was lucky enough to catch the director's cut version of Lilly Riggs, an extended cut from the version that has been making the fest rounds where Arthaud found himself nominated for the Best Male Lead prize at the Queens World Film Festival. The film continues on that circuit and it's the kind of film that should prove mighty popular amongst indie cinema moviegoers. 

Stylish and involving, Lilly Riggs is an enjoyable review with its retro vibe and top notch ensemble. If you get a chance, check it out. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic