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The Independent Critic

Reggie Harris, Ricardo Kingsbury, Rob Robinson, Damon Moore, D.T. Thompson, Mack Syler
Mack Syler, Reggie Harris
Mack Syler

 "When in Rome" Review 
Tau (Mack Syler) has a problem. Framed for the loss of $1,000,000 of his boss's money, Tau has been given a not so pleasant choice to make - kill himself or his family will be killed. His problems almost laughably seem to become magnified when he's the victim of an attempted carjacking, an attempt by a man named Thomas (Reggie Harris) that is quickly revealed to be a set-up arranged by Tau's previous employer, a crime lord named Apollo (Damon Moore) because Thomas has also found himself in a similar predicament and was given no other choice but to make sure that Tau followed through with his own death.

Sound convoluted?

The first five minutes of When in Rome, written by Syler and co-directed by both Harris and Syler, is convoluted and not particularly compelling.

Then, it happens.

"IT" is the appearance of Reggie Harris as Thomas. This is not to say that Syler's weak here... in fact, quite the opposite is true. This is to say that When in Rome really blossoms when both Harris and Syler share the screen and what at first appears to be a fairly typical crime thriller becomes an involving and entertaining film about two men who unexpectedly strike up a friendship and unite forces to possibly overturn Apollo.

While there's no question that When in Rome is a crime thriller, it's a crime thriller that wisely avoids unnecessary histrionics and special effects and emphasizes character development and the incredibly believable chemistry between Tau and Thomas. Of course, much of the credit for this believable relationship has to go to the performers and the film's co-directors. Harris and Syler were clearly on the same page when they envisioned this film, one of their earlier projects that was completed in 2007. The film's "intense" scenes, in fact, are the weakest links here as they lack the dramatic heft and impact found in the simpler, lower key moments between the two leads.

When in Rome was obviously a passion project for both Syler and Harris, both of whom also get credit as co-D.P.'s with Syler also serving as the film's producer and editor.

If you visit the film's IMDB page, you can check it out for yourself in its entirety of 19:45.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic