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The Independent Critic

Theodore Bouloukos, Ethan Sharrett
Patrick Biesemans
Martin Cox

 "The Southern Belle" Review 
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Bob (Theodore Bouloukos) is an aging cab driver with years of wisdom that he wears on each line of his face. Josh (Ethan Sharrett) is a successful businessman who just made partner at his firm.

The two men seem completely different. Looks can be deceiving.

A compelling 10-minute short film directed by Patrick Biesemans and written by Martin Cox, The Southern Belle takes an all too familiar story of humanity and makes it work thanks to Biesemans' patient direction, Cox's dramatic yet authentic dialogue and appealing performances from co-leads Bouloukos and Sharrett.

The film has proven to be quite successful on the indie film festival circuit with award-winning appearances at Maryville Film Festival, Vegas Independent Film Festival, New York International Independent Film Festival and IFQ Film Festival. In the latter two fests, The Southern Belle picked up the award for Best Thriller Short and has also picked up prizes for Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Sound Design and, of course, Best Short Film.

In other words, this is one darn fine film.

While The Southern Belle has a fairly basic set-up in terms of its story, rest assured that Cox refuses to spell everything out and both cast and crew work together to create a film that remains deeply involving even when you think you know exactly where it's going.

Odds are you're wrong anyway.

D.P. Michael Ormiston's camera work creates the perfect atmosphere for the thrilling story that unfolds, an atmosphere that is intimate yet suspenseful. It's never quite clear whether we're supposed to be anxious, afraid, involved or all of the above.

I vote for all of the above.

Ed Clare's original music also proves nicely complementary for the film, while the rest of the production crew is also top notch.

Bouloukos and Sharrett do a nice job of maintaining the film's dramatic edge without going over the top or, even worse, giving anything away. Bouloukos gives the more sympathetic performance, but you can't help but be impressed by Sharrett's ability to keep us interested in a character who basically sells himself as a complete ass within the film's opening minute.

For more information on The Southern Belle, visit the film's website listed in the credits!

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic