Keith Allan, John Dimaggio, Doug Spearman, John Adams, Toby Poser, Elad Ziv, Sam Rodd, Billy Portman
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
John Adams, Toby Poser
"The Shoot" a Dark, Sometimes Funny Thriller
I suppose I can understand why there are some who don't necessarily care for The Shoot, a 79-minute darkly comical thriller written and directed by John Adams and Toby Poser said to be shot in the vein of classic Tarantino and Dahl. While I'm not quite ready to compare the film to either Tarantino or Dahl, I am prepared to say that if you give yourself to its gritty, isolated vibe that you'll likely find yourself enjoying its multiple layers and intriguing characters.
Tommy (John Adams) is an aspiring rock star with gargantuan debts. Maddy (Toby Poser) is a fashion assistant who believes that she's about to be fired by her unappreciative boss. She mentions that maybe she should start swiping some valuables off the set, they're insured anyway, after all. Tommy enlists his buddy, Dougie (Sam Rodd), in a plot to rob the isolated fashion shoot while they're out on location in the desert. Unfortunately, not everything goes as planned and an accidental gunfight ensues.
The Shoot isn't a perfect film. It slows down in the middle. It meanders a bit. It doesn't quite resolve as much as I'd like it to resolve, but The Shoot is also a far more intelligent thriller than it might first appear on the surface. Adams and Poser ask serious questions amidst what seems like stereotypical thriller plot devices. The comic elements in the film are well used and develop naturally out of the story rather than feeling like manipulative set-ups. The film's dialogue, while occasionally a bit off, was also far more frequently spot-on.
I think what I appreciated most about The Shoot was that Adams and Poser managed to create characters largely devoid of caricature, no small accomplishment when you're dealing with the fashion industry and a crime thriller. While I wouldn't quite call the character development complex, it is refreshingly authentic and helps to create more believable people and plot lines.
In addition to co-writing/directing and co-starring in the film, Adams created the film's top notch original music, lensing, set design, and wore multiple other hats on the indie production from Wonder Wheel Productions, a collaboration between Adams, Poser, and their children Lulu and Zelda (Critic's Note: Which are two of the coolest children's names). Shot in L.A. and Joshua Tree National Park, The Shoot does a nice job of capturing both the beauty of the area and the sense of isolation that would be experienced when something goes dreadfully wrong.
Adams does a nice job as Tommy, never allowing the audience the luxury of excusing his actions or simply dismissing him as a "bad guy." There's multiple layers to Tommy and those layers help draw you into his story and his choices. Sam Rodd is also extraordinarily good as Dougie, while Poser is strong as Maddy and John DiMaggio, a rather prolific voice actor most known for Futurama, is terrifically demented as Steve.
While release dates haven't yet been decided for The Shoot, it's a solid indie thriller with interesting characters, a straightforward yet involving story, and enough layers to leave you contemplating the film long after the closing credits have rolled. I look forward to seeing the film's journey whether it ends up on the indie fest or theatrical circuit.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic