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March 6, 2013

225214_145040222324147_1304683434_nSully used to be in a Philly punk band but has given up his dream and is now trying to make ends meet with a wife and five year old son.  His old band mate Mick is still chasing his dream, or, more accurately, living in a dream reality.  After years of being apart (or estranged) Mick has reentered Sully’s life bringing a tornado of drama.  We soon meet a third member of the band, Dutch, still in the music business and walking on the dark side.  This film reveals more and more information about its characters as the film progresses, so I want to stay away from giving up much more of the plot details.

I was blown away by the film.  The combination of writing and acting created a believable reality and showed characters that I know very well.  My ex-hubby had a childhood best friend who was Mick to a T, and they had many of the same fights with each other as adults.  Or, “adults”.  It was a bit painful to watch these familiar arguments between men who clearly love each other but who can no longer be in each other’s lives.  The Mick in my life ended up dead… the Mick in the film might very well be on the same path.

“Besides, I have a plan…”  …Mick.

If I only had a nickel for every time I heard this from the Mick in my life.

Lawrence Michael Levine plays Sully in an impressive performance.  I met Levine at Cinequest two years ago and found him to be a quiet but sweet guy, and so I was amazed to see his performance on screen that year in GABI ON THE ROOF IN JULY.  He gave a solid performance and commanded attention on film.  So I should not have been surprised at his completely different role in DETONATOR.  Levine really is an impressive actor and this is no longer up for debate after these very different roles.

Also impressive is Benjamin Ellis Fine who plays Mick, one of those unfortunate people who might have talent, but not the drive or work ethic (or any ethic) to make their dream come true.  Mick is the kind of guy who will forever live on the fringe…  until he’s pushed right off the edge and disappears forever.  Having known a Mick with an unfortunate ending, Fine’s amazing performance broke my heart.  I could barely stand to see this character come to life up on the screen.

Some of the credit for these performances has to go to Damon Maulucci and Keir Politz, the writer/director team for DETONATOR.  The dialog between Sully and Mick was very real, the plot progression of the evening was fluid, and the casting (including Dawn L. Hall as Karen, the wife who has way more patience than Sully deserves) was perfect.  But these four main men definitely are a powerhouse team in film.

That said, I did have some issues with the film.  Although I was intensely excited from the first few minutes, the purpose of that first half hour is kind of a mystery to me now that I’ve seen the whole film.  All the questions about Sully, the issues he had with his son in the car, the tension that the background music created… what was all that about?  I never read any sort of plot description before I watch these films, so I thought I was really in for a thriller from the beginning , and couldn’t wait to see what mental issue, or maybe super power, it was that Sully had.  But all he had was… adulthood?  My second (constructive) criticism is that Dutch and his gang were just slightly over the top in their “bad guy” roles.  It wasn’t Robert Longstreet’s acting; it appears to be the directing.  Everything else in this film was so real and true to life, but much of the scenes with Dutch were not.

But overall?  Excellent film.  And again, the amazing talents of these four, Damon Maulucci, Keir Politz, Lawrence Michael Levine and Benjamin Ellis Fine, are a force to be reckoned with.  And overall, I was blown away.

Buy tickets to see DETONATOR at Cinequest!
Watch the Trailer!

From → Reviews

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