Written and directed by Kris Salvi, Frank Rizzo is an over the hill hit-man who is trying to redeem himself. All the while, he is haunted by the murder of a close friend from years ago. Starring: Marc Powers, Kate Eppers, Sheri Lee, Emily Schaffer, Dustin Tueber, Samantha Webb and Justin Thibault.
Mob stories are typically a reliable form of film, you know what you’re getting and this short fits pretty squarely between those lines. The writing both in story and dialogue is exactly what you’d expect, it sticks to a rather traditional style, never straying outside of the box. It might have been better served to not segue into a romantic element, there isn’t really the time to make it sufficiently fit into the larger picture. The progression also feels slightly mistimed, by the time it reaches its finale, it stops short having not quite rounded out its story well enough to prevent its ending from feeling unsatisfying.
The directorial style is quite simple and scaled back, it could use a little more movement and fluidity to it, to really push the energy but there are some effective angle choices and cinematography. The overall tone is divided between going for something more modern and paying homage to classic 70s gangster flicks, it could have benefited from fully committing to one. The physical choreography is surprisingly convincing and well edited but the gun play could have been cut in more effectively, to hit a more powerful note. It’s an issue with sound that the film has throughout, it’s very rough around the edges and better in some scenes than others.
Powers lead performance is solid, he gets across that persona of redemption, capable of great violence but trying to put it behind him. The support cast are a mixed bag, trying to push a romantic edge didn’t give most of the actresses a space to create more character or personality. Webb’s performance as Helina also feels quite stiff, opening the film on her character when she doesn’t really have much to add until later was quite a jarring choice. Her key scene with Powers towards the end is quite an awkward one within the dialogue so again, it’s not a great performance but is being affected by the pace and simplicity of the script within that moment.
The Loner is a solid attempt to pay homage to classic mob flicks, it ticks all the boxes of conflict and family but it feels as though it didn’t try to break out of the typical formula enough. There are some good raw elements but it’s rough around the edges and could have used some finessing it to get closer to where it wanted to go.