It's rare that I find myself a Breaking Glass Pictures release with which I don't resonate on some level, but writer/director Joe Raffa's You'll Know My Name
is an urban western devoid of interesting characters or, for that matter, anything worth investing yourself in emotionally.
The action centers around Nick (Raffa himself), a silent Jersey type of dude determined to kick the ass of local legend Mike Santo (Alexander Mandell) because Santo messed around with his girlfriend, Christina (Mianna Saxton). A good majority of You'll Know My Name
is the build-up to the fight that's set to occur between Nick and Mike, a fight that is supposed to have some sort of Old West nobility to it but a fight that is essentially irrelevant because it's impossible to care about Nick, Mike or Christina.
There's a blindness that guides this action build-up, a blindness that is key to the storyline as it becomes apparent that both Mike and Nick are so blinded by their actions that they can't see the consequences that are going to unfold.
To be honest, I just didn't care.
It's not so much that You'll Know My Name
is an awful film. It's not. It's a solidly built film with a decent framework and moody, atmosphere defining camera work by Charlie Anderson. The $35,000 film, which has found a home on home video with Breaking Glass Pictures starting on May 29th, had a nice indie fest run that included Philadelphia's FirstGlance Film Festival in 2011. The film may very well appeal to twentysomethings who will likely more resonate with its urban grittiness and the dark despair that guides the story of a decaying American dream.
The film brought to mind for this critic a film called Self-Medicated,
which had some success on the indie film fest circuit a few years back but proved to be a bit too dark and self-aware for a wider release audience when it was picked up for distribution after a successful festival run. While their themes are different, You'll Know My Name's
almost manipulative intentionality will likely prove to be too tiring for most audiences and simply too pointless for others.
While I admire what Raffa's going for here, it's entirely possible that he simply wore too many hats in the production and You'll Know My Name,
as a result, becomes a film you'll mostly want to forget.
For more information on the film, visit the You'll Know My Name page on the Breaking Glass website.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic