Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Cut To Black

The affection for the film noir genre comes through loud and clear in this modern-day re-imagining.

Oct 17, 2013

-By Frank Scheck


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1387218-Cut_To_Black_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Familiar film noir tropes are lovingly rehashed to good effect in Dan Eberle’s gritty drama about a disgraced former cop turned private investigator who seeks moral redemption in a sordid case. Shot in evocative black-and-white and featuring the sort of complex, Raymond Chandler-style plotting endemic to the genre, Cut to Black will appeal most to ardent fans of the 1940s-era films that have so often been paid tribute in such modern-day efforts as Chinatown.

Director/screenwriter Eberle—who’s previously received kudos on the festival circuit for such efforts as JailCity and Prayer to a Vengeful God—plays the central role of Bill Ivers, a former NYPD detective who’s clearly fallen on hard times. Deep in debt, drinking hard, carrying on a risky affair with his landlord’s wife and suffering from recurring nosebleeds that signal a potentially fatal illness, he’s hardly in a position to turn down the lucrative payday offered by his former mentor, a wealthy politician (James Alba) trying to help the daughter (Jillaine Gill) from whom he’s been long estranged.

Since she’s a sexy stripper being victimized by a stalker, there are plenty of opportunities for nudity, as Ivers, checking out her act at the Confessional, the club where she works, finds himself embroiled in a complicated scenario involving her suspicious boyfriend (Joe Stipek) and various other shady types.

As is usual for these sorts of affairs, the hard-to-follow storyline is less integral to the proceedings than the moody atmosphere, well established by James Parsons’ crisp lensing; Bob Hart’s spooky electronic music score featuring touches of traditional jazz; the excellent use of various NYC locations; and the hard-boiled, world-weary performance by the gravelly-voiced filmmaker, whose character seems on the verge of collapsing, both physically and emotionally, at any moment.

While Cut to Black doesn’t exactly break any new stylistic ground and often threatens to collapse from the weight of its inspirational archetypes, it’s a reasonably effective and entertaining homage to a genre that has seemingly lost none of its allure to modern filmmakers.

The Hollywood Reporter


Film Review: Cut To Black

The affection for the film noir genre comes through loud and clear in this modern-day re-imagining.

Oct 17, 2013

-By Frank Scheck


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1387218-Cut_To_Black_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Familiar film noir tropes are lovingly rehashed to good effect in Dan Eberle’s gritty drama about a disgraced former cop turned private investigator who seeks moral redemption in a sordid case. Shot in evocative black-and-white and featuring the sort of complex, Raymond Chandler-style plotting endemic to the genre, Cut to Black will appeal most to ardent fans of the 1940s-era films that have so often been paid tribute in such modern-day efforts as Chinatown.

Director/screenwriter Eberle—who’s previously received kudos on the festival circuit for such efforts as JailCity and Prayer to a Vengeful God—plays the central role of Bill Ivers, a former NYPD detective who’s clearly fallen on hard times. Deep in debt, drinking hard, carrying on a risky affair with his landlord’s wife and suffering from recurring nosebleeds that signal a potentially fatal illness, he’s hardly in a position to turn down the lucrative payday offered by his former mentor, a wealthy politician (James Alba) trying to help the daughter (Jillaine Gill) from whom he’s been long estranged.

Since she’s a sexy stripper being victimized by a stalker, there are plenty of opportunities for nudity, as Ivers, checking out her act at the Confessional, the club where she works, finds himself embroiled in a complicated scenario involving her suspicious boyfriend (Joe Stipek) and various other shady types.

As is usual for these sorts of affairs, the hard-to-follow storyline is less integral to the proceedings than the moody atmosphere, well established by James Parsons’ crisp lensing; Bob Hart’s spooky electronic music score featuring touches of traditional jazz; the excellent use of various NYC locations; and the hard-boiled, world-weary performance by the gravelly-voiced filmmaker, whose character seems on the verge of collapsing, both physically and emotionally, at any moment.

While Cut to Black doesn’t exactly break any new stylistic ground and often threatens to collapse from the weight of its inspirational archetypes, it’s a reasonably effective and entertaining homage to a genre that has seemingly lost none of its allure to modern filmmakers.

The Hollywood Reporter
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

The Congress
Film Review: The Congress

Part live-action, part cornea-searing animation, this cinematic overload is ambitious but ultimately fatigues as it plays with the intriguing notion of a fading Hollywood star selling rights so her cyberspace avatar can rise to superstardom and stay forever young in virtual reality. Flashy animation and cynical stabs at celebrity culture and movie-studio finagling keep things lively for a while. More »

The Last of Robin Hood
Film Review: The Last of Robin Hood

Serviceable vehicle for a salacious story. More »

Last Weekend
Film Review: Last Weekend

A sort of modern Chekhovian study of family tensions over a country weekend, this indie drama is very pretty to look at and at times disarming, but needed more punch. More »

The Notebook
Film Review: The Notebook

An aloof adaptation of Agota Kristof's best-seller that's technically impressive but precludes audience identification. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Film Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Neither significantly better nor worse than its predecessor, the belated Sin City sequel is more of a repeat, rather than a continuation, of the original. More »

If I Stay
Film Review: If I Stay

Delivers as promised. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here