There’s much to like about this movie, but it falls short of perfect. Let’s go over the good stuff before we turn our attention to the not-so-good. And—warning—this review does reveal spoilers.
To begin with, Blast of Silence is an indie film—a low-budget production that in look and tone suggests it’s a film noir. While IMDB.com identifies the movie as a crime drama/thriller and Wikipedia simply calls it a crime film, I say if it looks like a film noir
and quacks like a duck, then roll with it!
The story is about Frankie Bono, a hitman from Cleveland, who comes to New York City during the festive Christmas holidays. He’s been hired to take out a mid-level mob boss—and I don’t mean to a holiday party.
A few notable things about the film.
The beginning—in a not-so-subtle audio/video re-creation of the birth process, Bono is thrust into New York out of a railroad tunnel. This while his own birth is described in voiceover, basically ending with the following sentiment: “Bye, Mom. You’re done here.”
Narration is also done in second person. It comes across as a bit stilted at first (even bordering on parody—I kept thinking, “I should be taking notes”). However, the overall effect eventually works.
Our antihero protagonist talks a lot about anger and hate. “You hate cities, especially at Christmas.” “You hated the target almost as much as you did the old man.” That kind of thing.
I grew quickly accustomed to the narration as an inner dialogue rather than explanation. It’s not only unique, but it gives you the character’s backstory without bogging the story down in exposition. Creates a bond with him. Even makes him a sympathetic antihero.
Also, the cinematography and sound. The use of lit shop windows and holiday decorations sketch out the scenery in light and shadow. The jazz soundtrack, combined with the noir ambiance and jump cut editing, is fitting for the tone and period of the film.
I haven’t talked much about the story. Like I said, Frankie Bono (a.k.a., Cleveland—his cute code name) comes to town to knock off a mob guy. He carefully takes his time to do this, guarding his approach with the same fervor that he guards his heart. Until he’s undone by—what else?—an old flame.
The woman named Lori, who Bono remembers from his days in the orphanage that raised him, is hardly a femme fatale. What transpires between Bono and Lori is little more than a failure to communicate.
The real problem comes from the middleman, Big Ralph, who (wising up to exactly who Bono is taking out) gets a deadly case of greed when providing Bono with the required gun for the job.
All very nice, but—and here come the spoilers!—after all that careful planning, waiting, surveillance, calculating, etc., etc., Bono tells his client he wants out of the deal, only to be rebuffed and held to finishing his contract with his “retirement plans” to be settled later.
Now, do you really expect me to believe that after all that, Mr. Professional Hitman would sashay off without a care to the middle of freaking nowhere to collect the rest of his fee? Without a weapon? Without some sort of backup or alternate plan? Surely, he didn’t expect to be greeted with open arms.
I’m here to get my severance pay! 🙂
Do I have to spell it out? This does not end well.
In the end, the narration should have included something to the effect of “You were careful and professional every step of the way. Until you suddenly
lost your marbles dropped the ball and trusted the Mob after telling them you were quits.”
So … yeah, it’s existential, it’s the you’re alone from birth to death thing, I get that.
But that ending. Well,
it’s a cop out I could think of better ways to achieve the same thing.
This one had me in all the way to its disappointing end, which knocks off a star.