Sex, violence, money and betrayal are staples in those cynical film noir movies many of us enjoy so much. Writer/director Andrew Mandapat uses these themes well in Siren, his short black-and-white film about a man and two women who find themselves in a deadly triangle.
"I did something wrong once," Ned (Gregory Pedemonte), the main character -- who's just been shot -- confesses. This intriguing opening evokes our curiousity, and we want to know more about Ned's "wrongdoing." How did he get into this desperate situation? True to the noir credo, Ned's problems involve crime and women. He's conspired with his mistress Charlie (Sarah Korda) to murder his wife Sonora (Stephanie Lytle), and a bank robbery is in the mix. Oops, did I forget to mention there's a dead body in the room with Ned? But that's enough about the plot; I don't want to spoil things for other viewers. Suffice it to say that this interesting and twisted story deserves a full-length movie treatment, which apparently is in the works now.
Charles Pappas, film historian and author of It's a Bitter Little World: The Smartest, Toughest, Nastiest Quotes from Film Noir, points out that movies of this genre feature losers who seek the very thing that gets them killed as well as women with 'jewelers' loupes for brains and cash registers for hearts -- they stomp on the men."
Siren emphasizes the elements Pappas mentions. But it also pays tribute to film noir with its photographic style. While watching the off-kilter camera angles here, I became nostalgic for movies like Touch of Evil and The Maltese Falcon -- two films with similar fascinating cinematography.
Iím impressed by Mandapatís ability to create such an impressive film noir homage with a running time of less than twenty minutes. And I look forward to seeing the upcoming feature film based on Siren. If it lives up to the potential of this short movie, fans of film noir are in for a special treat. (Capsule review)
(Released by Baja Posse Movies LLC; not rated by MPAA. For more information, visit the official website at www.bajapossemovies.com.)