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The Independent Critic

Joachim Back
Anders Thomas Jensen, David Rakoff (Adaptation)
Vincent D'Onofrio, Kevin Corrigan, Liane Balaban, Jamie Harrold, David Rakoff
Running Time
20 Mins.

 "The New Tenants" Review 

Despite a weak, almost amateurish start, Joachim Back's Oscar-nominated "The New Tenants" is a darkly humorous 20-minute short film that transcends its modest beginnings on the strength of its ensemble cast of character actors including widely recognized names such as Vincent D'Onofrio and Kevin Corrigan along with the film's standout, Jamie Harrold.

Harrold and David Rakoff play new tenants in an apartment they are about to learn has quite the history and may, in fact, still hold about a kilo of heroin that a certain fidgety chap would like to have back. Move-in day has never quite been this chaotic as the two encounter a rather batty old lady, a disgruntled spouse and the aforementioned thug who thinks the two may know more than they are saying.

Pawel Edelman's camera work stresses the film's darker themes, while an original score from Laurent Parisi makes "The New Tenants" feel a touch like Coen Brothers meet Scorsese for a brew.

The film seems to gain steam as it moves along, and having a known cast of under-appreciated character actors may very well help nudge the film up a notch or two. "The New Tenants" ends on a rather delightful, irreverent tone but it's not enough for director Joachim Back to take home the Oscar this year.