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The Independent Critic

Laura Benson, Joe Freeman, Daniel Eugene McCarthy, Mo Shirazi, and Zuleika Gallo
Edgar Muniz
Edgar Muniz, Laura Benson
67 Mins.

 "Someone Else in the Evening" Review 
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Eva (Laura Benson) is determined to produce a one-act play about the frailty of human relationships. A grad project that she need merely complete and present for a school committee, Eva's one-act play quickly consumes her life and begins to derail virtually every aspect of her existence. Eva desires to create a piece that is bold and confrontational, but will it cost her the very human relationships she writes about?

With Someone Else in the Evening, director Edgar Muniz continues his history of well-made, intelligent films that explore the everyday human experience in ways that are both intimate and universal. As a relative newcomer to Muniz's work, I've quickly caught on that Muniz focuses his films on ideas and people, thoughts and people, people and, well, people. Muniz is less concerned with creating a beginning to end story and far more concerned with following the remarkably authentic experiences of the characters whose story he is telling.

Do some of the characters get their beginning and end? Sure, but Muniz allows this to happen rather than dictates its happening.

After all, isn't that the way life really works?

How often do we get straightforward, clear cut answers to even our most basic questions?

See what I mean.

A film such as Someone Else in the Evening wouldn't possibly work without a strong cast able to pull it off and, in the case of this film in particular, a strong actress in the role of Eva. Laura Benson, who also co-wrote the script for Someone Else in the Evening with Muniz, gives a performance that perfectly balances both the appeal of and rather disturbing traits of the increasingly erratic Eva. Benson's Eva is beautiful, intelligent and can be, in fact, quite charming. Not so unlike any number of Hollywood prima donnas whose behavior can be unpredictable. Wisely, Muniz never lets us forget, though, that Eva is simply, richly human with a distinctly human desire underneath all of her behaviors. Benson's ability to bring this complexity to life wholly and compassionately provides Eva with tremendous depth.

It undoubtedly helps that Benson is surrounded by a strong ensemble cast, most notably Daniel Eugene McCarty, Zuleika Gallo and Mo Shirazi stand out.

The camera work of Muniz and Christian Smith vividly companions Eva's growing disconnection from the human experience throughout the film, sometimes in jarring and intensely felt ways. Combined with the original music of Tape Recorder and Lucas Maldonado, the camera work and music intertwine with the written word to provide the film's emotional grounding even as Eva is seemingly losing her own.

Having been introduced to the work of Muniz, an English teacher at Mt. San Antonio College currently working on his fifth feature film, rest assured that his past feature length and short films will be making their way onto my viewing list.

Currently getting ready to start on the film festival circuit, Someone Else in the Evening should find tremendous popularity on the indie and microcinema film festival circuit with Muniz's distinctive, authentic voice and personal storytelling. For more information on Someone Else in the Evening, visit the film's website.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic