Jake Hart (William Wayne) is an aspiring screenwriter, though he's also in Hollywood where this basically means he's a bartender hoping for his one big break.
Angela Rose (Korrina Rico) is a wannabe actress whose days are mostly filled with her gig as an event promoter.
Jake and Angela meet. Jake and Angela make cute. Angela becomes Jake's muse and suddenly Jake's inspiration returns as he and Angela get more and more serious to the point of an engagement that coincides with, you guessed it, Jake's lucky break when producer Walt Warshaw (Jon Jacobs) requests a meeting with Jake to discuss his newest screenplay about a former actress, Angie Malone (Charlotte Lewis), who may have faked her own death. It's a potential starring role for Jake's beloved Angela, a potential that grows when Jake arrives a tad late for his meeting with the high-powered producer but just in time to see said producer kill a couple people.
Jake exchanges his project's fast-tracking and a starring role for Angela for helping his producer get rid of the evidence.
Yeah, you know what I mean.
Jake's film ends up being a critical darling, though as we all know becoming a critical darling doesn't exactly mean box-office success. That's a success that seems elusive, at least until a plan is hatched to have art imitate life when Angela suddenly disappears for a pre-planned amount of time in an effort to attract some attention to the project.
Yeah, it works. Maybe too well.
While it may sound like I've given away a bit too much of the story behind the entertaining Lost Angelas, rest assured that I've really only scratched the surface of everything that unfolds in this nearly 90-minute indie drama that premiered at Method Fest in Beverly Hills where the film saw Jon Jacobs pick up the prize for outstanding performance while the film itself picked up a couple other nominations. It's not surprising success for the film, a beautifully photographed noir-tinged piece of indie cinema that is both visually arresting and narratively compelling.
Ana Maria Manso's lensing is absolutely sublime, vastly superior to what one usually finds in a lower-budgeted indie and the kind of creative, atmospheric work that makes you think Hollywood needs to be calling her up. Like right now.
Wayne's own editing for the film is similarly strong, giving the film an almost breathtaking fluidity that keeps us all off kilter just a little more effectively and never giving us a second to be distracted away from the story.
It's not surprising that Jacobs would pick up an acting prize for the film. As the rather maniacal, murderous Warshaw, Jacobs leaves you constantly wondering where he'll go next then going a little bit further.
This is not to minimize the performances of the remainder of the ensemble cast including Wayne himself, whose turn as Jake is infused with hints of psychosis, stark vulnerabilities, and incredible doses of charisma. Somehow, he makes it all come together. The same is true for Korrina Rico's delicious portrayal of Angela Rose, whom we can never decide if she's adorably sweet, quietly manipulative, or sizzlingly romantic.
Heck, it could be all three.
David Proval also shines as Angela's mafioso father, a man made up of equal parts tenderness toward Angela and sadistic baddie for anyone whom he perceives as having betrayed him.
Let's just say he's a little prone to perceiving betrayal.
Lost Angelas, as complex and layered as it is, is an infinitely involving film that is actually much easier to follow than one might expect largely upon the strength of Wayne and Jen Zias's precise, narratively cohesive storytelling. While one might argue that Lost Angelas tries to accomplish an awful lot, perhaps too much, in its just shy of 90-minute running time, it's hard to find much fault with a film that is this ambitious and succeeds so overwhelmingly.
Continuing on its festival journey, Lost Angelas is a rewarding view and should find continued success on the circuit and with fans who embrace creative, indie cinema. For more information on the film, visit its official website linked to in the credits.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic