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Shane Andries, Gilbert Cannatella, Patrick Campion, David C. Frazier
Ray Etheridge
51 Mins.

 "The Money Trail" Review 
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I admire the efforts of Ray Etheridge, the writer/director of "The Money Trail," and his wife and producing partner Migdalia, who are tireless advocates of micro-budget filmmaking with seven independent films to their credit along with Florida's "15 Minutes of Fame" independent film festival.

Unfortunately, while their work is admirable "The Money Trail," their latest effort that is getting ready for its premiere during the January 2010 "15 Minutes of Fame" film festival, never quite comes together with its tale of a drug lord (Gilbert Cannatella) who offers up a $2 million reward to anyone who can break his son, Lenny (Shane Andries, best known as part of Blue Man Group), out of prison and return him home alive.

At a mere 51 minute run time, "The Money Trail" is on the low end of what can be considered a feature film and is the shortest film yet created by the Etheridge's, who produce their films utilizing a significant number of Florida-based actors and whose films typically run in the $2,500 range.

Yes, that's right. $2,500.

Filmed on location in Palm Bay, Florida utilizing sets constructed within their garage and, at times, within a few hundred feet of their home, "The Money Trail" is a pure and simple, old-fashioned action flick in which Etheridge squeezes in as much action as possible in the film's short run time and serves up decent performances by Andries in the lead and Etheridge regular Patrick Campion, as a career criminal who attempts to cash in on the the $2 million reward. Campion also performs the film's closing credits song, "Get Off The Money Trail," with lyrics written by Migdalia Etheridge.

Given the film's modest budget and Etheridge's ambitious direction, it's not particularly surprising that production values are fairly modest despite Etheridge's obvious creativity and ability to achieve greater results than his budget would indicate. Unfortunately, for the average filmgoer "The Money Trail" is likely to be distracting with a sound mix that is frequently off-balance and special effect shots that distract rather than add to the film's action.

While "The Money Trail" falls short, it's intriguing enough to create a desire to delve deeper into the filmmaking catalogue of Ray and Migdalia Etheridge, two micro-budget filmmakers who have managed to create a solid production, distribution and filmmaking company and, in the end, opportunities for indie actors and tech crew.

For more information on "The Money Trail," visit the Etheridge's website.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic 

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