Lev Gorn, Stacia Crawford, Kristen Vermilyea, Gabe Fazio
Echelon Studios (DVD)
Set in the 1940's, "Straight Forward" is a film noirish action/mystery about a Hollywood writer and his aging wife who get into a game of cat-and-mouse with a dangerous loner they attempt to involve in their devious scheme to conceive a child.
At last year's Lake County Film Festival, "One Night With You" was a solid example of the type of film noir that can be produced on a modest budget. Unfortunately, director Jason Noto seems to want to take "Straight Forward" farther than it can really go on a low budget and the end result is a film that feels forced, staged and too cartoonish to be convincing.
The film's script, from co-star Stacia Crawford, shows quite a bit of promise but the film simply never comes to life, either emotionally or visually.
At the very least, one should be able to admire the artistry and style of a film noir, but "Straight Forward" only paints a surface picture of what film noir is really all about. The black-and-white imagery is present and the appropriate costumes exist, but the characters themselves come off more like we're watching a stage play than a cinematic production.
The ensemble cast, which includes Crawford, Kristen Vermilyea, Lev Gorn and Gabe Fazio never sell "Straight Forward" as a story that needs to be told nor a movie that needs to be seen.
Released in 2005, "Straight Forward" is scheduled for a 2009 release on Singa Home Entertainment.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic