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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Lev Gorn, Stacia Crawford, Kristen Vermilyea, Gabe Fazio
DIRECTED BY
Jason Noto
SCREENPLAY
Stacia Crawford
MPAA RATING
NR
RUNNING TIME
87 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Echelon Studios (DVD)

 "Straight Forward" Review 
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Set in the 1940's, "Straight Forward" is a film noirish action/mystery about a Hollywood writer and his aging wife who get into a game of cat-and-mouse with a dangerous loner they attempt to involve in their devious scheme to conceive a child.

At last year's Lake County Film Festival, "One Night With You" was a solid example of the type of film noir that can be produced on a modest budget. Unfortunately, director Jason Noto seems to want to take "Straight Forward" farther than it can really go on a low budget and the end result is a film that feels forced, staged and too cartoonish to be convincing.

The film's script, from co-star Stacia Crawford, shows quite a bit of promise but the film simply never comes to life, either emotionally or visually.

At the very least, one should be able to admire the artistry and style of a film noir, but "Straight Forward" only paints a surface picture of what film noir is really all about. The black-and-white imagery is present and the appropriate costumes exist, but the characters themselves come off more like we're watching a stage play than a cinematic production.

The ensemble cast, which includes Crawford, Kristen Vermilyea, Lev Gorn and Gabe Fazio never sell "Straight Forward" as a story that needs to be told nor a movie that needs to be seen.

Released in 2005, "Straight Forward" is scheduled for a 2009 release on Singa Home Entertainment.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

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