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The Independent Critic

Tony Kitchin, Alycia Tumblin, Larry Laverty, Johnnie Rodriguez, David Fine, Tony Sommers, Stu Klitsner
Isaac Pingree
Sebastian Passanisi
98 Mins.
LifeSize Entertainment (DVD)

 "Day of Vengeance" Review 
Jake Reid's father died in a bloody massacre 15 years ago after a botched robbery in Covelo, California. Jake (Tony Kitchin) returns to Covelo hoping to retrieve the never recovered cash, uniting forces with Laura (Alycia Tumblin), a beautiful young local who turns out to be the daughter of a man killed by Jake's father in that robbery 15 years ago.

What should be a simple task quickly becomes complicated thanks to a shady sheriff (David Fine) and an abundance of locals who make this modern day small California town feel like the wild, wild west. When Jake's surviving partner in the botched robbery escapes from prison, well, things get really ugly.

A low-budget indie crime thriller in the tradition of A Simple Plan, Day of Vengeance is a tightly written, nicely photographed drama in which Jake must ultimately decide which side he is on and which direction his life is going to take.

If there were such thing as a "typical" indie flick, Day of Vengeance would likely fall squarely under its heading. An ambitious feature film debut by director Isaac Pingree, Day of Vengeance is mostly hindered by its obviously low budget that is revealed in the classic indie gimmicks of daylight camera shots and working with shadows rather than against them. Despite the film's rather modest "rating," there's quite a bit that works here headed up by Sebastian Passanisi's sparse, natural script and Pingree's ability to frame a shot in such a way that he heightens the inherent drama.

Unfortunately, the film falls victim at times to the enemy of virtually every low-budget filmmaker...a cast that is wildly hit-and-miss and production quality is uneven. Yet, there's something to be admired within Day of Vengeance, a fact supported by its being picked up by LifeSize Entertainment for a DVD release and the film's picking up the prize for Best Action Film at the Staten Island Film Festival.

There's potential here and it would be intriguing to see what Pingree could put together with a bit higher production budget.

Day of Vengeance benefits greatly from a disciplined, grounded performance by Alycia Tumblin as the grown-up girl with a traumatic past, while David Fine, Johnnie Rodriguez and Stu Klitsner also have shining moments. The film's real stand-out is the camera work of D.P. Mike Foodman, who shoots the film in 16mm and easily transcends the film's modest production budget. Kudos as well to Will Collins for a nicely complementary original score.

The Day of Vengeance DVD also features a commentary track with the director, writer and D.P. along with a photo gallery, featurette and the film's trailer.

For more information on the DVD release of Day of Vengeance, visit the LifeSize Entertainment website.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic