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The Independent Critic

Matt Passmore, Brigitte Millar, Agnes Godey
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi
13 Mins.

 Short Film "Nox" Set for U.S. Premiere at L.A. Neo Noir Film Fest 

A political thriller set for its U.S. premiere at L.A.'s Neo Noir Film Fest on May 25-26, writer/director Keyvan Sheikhalishahi's 13-minute Nox is an engaging, twisty cinematic affair led by the dominating performance of up-and-comer Matt Passmore as Peter Marlowe, a professional burglar working alongside Claire Winters (Brigitte Millar) in what appears to at first be nothing more than a simple burglary. 

Of course, we catch on rather quickly that nothing here is quite that simple. 

It's election night and Peter and Claire are breaking into the home of a U.S. Senator. Initially, their motives are unclear and as you might expect there's a whole lot more going on here than a simple break-in. Within the short span of 13 minutes, Sheikhalishahi tells a complex story layered with multiple twists and turns and more than a little genre defiance. It works partly on the strength of filmmaking, but there's no denying that it's really the work of Passmore and Millar that truly sells this film. 

D.P. Jean-Claude Aumont's lensing work here is simply top notch, infusing the film with a taut suspense that draws you in and doesn't let you go, while the music from Gréco Casadesus and Gregory Cotti amps up the film's sense of drama and suspense. Passmore makes for a charismatic screen presence, his almost stoic facial expressions never revealing the film's multiple layers and never letting us know where his Peter Marlowe is going to go next. While Millar is given less to work with here, she makes the most of it and keeps us intrigued by the compelling persona of Claire. 

A mere 19-years-old when he made Nox, Keyvan Sheikhalishahi continues to display great promise and it's exciting to see the young filmmaker as he continues his journey up the filmmaker ladder. While one could potentially make some minor quibbles with the storytelling here, the truth is that Nox is simply too involving and effective for these issues to matter. A quality short from a gifted filmmaker, Nox arrives stateside later this month and if you get a chance to check it out that's an opportunity I'd recommend you take. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic