Justin Thibault, Audrey Noone
"Bent" the Latest Short from Stories in Motion
Director Chris Esper's segue into genre filmmaking with the noirish Bent isn't exactly an unexpected move for the filmmaker who seems to like to challenge himself by tackling different stories and different structures and now different genres. Esper has always been willing to go where the story is and in this case the story of a corrupt cop, Brenda Hoggins (Audrey Noone), practically demanded Esper shift into genre filmmaking and, more specifically, into the kind of gritty, tension-filled created most effectively with noir-tinged linguistics, courtesy of Kris Salvi's script, and Evan Schneider's highly stylized and mood setting cinematography.
When Noone's Hoggins and Justin Thibault's Michael Brooks burst into the cocaine-laden apartment of yet another two-bit dealer and his girlfriend, killing both the dealer and the unarmed girlfriend, you can practically immerse yourself in the smoke-filled rooms of film noirs past and feel the tension in every word spoken as the bust gone wrong feels an awful lot like simply another day at the office for these two corrupt but difficult to bust cops.
While the story itself is pretty close to paint-by-numbers crime thriller, it comes vividly to life courtesy of the spot-on leading duo of Noone and Thibault with Noone, in particular, practically chewing up her dialogue before she swishes it around and spits it out.
In case you're wondering, that's a compliment.
Bent is a film that you admire more for its craft than its immersive qualities. It's a cineaste's film, the kind of film that true connoisseurs of cinema embrace because they understand the craft. If there were such a thing as an arthouse short, and some would argue there is, it would likely exist in the form of a film like Bent, a nicely crafted thriller that draws you in with its precise dialogue and keeps you on the strength of its ensemble cast.
For more information on Bent and more Stories in Motion films, visit the official website linked to in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic