Let Me Die Quietly Movie Review
Written by Miloš Jovanović
DVD released by Breaking Glass Pictures
Directed by Mitchell Reichler
Written by Charles Casillo
2009, 95 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on January 4th, 2010
Charles Casillo as Mario
Dana Perry as Gabrielle
Ian Tomaschik as Dr. Justin Avery
Paul Coughlan as Detective Devlin
Mario (Charles Casillo) is a New York denizen who, for the whole duration of his life, is haunted by visions. In these visions, Mario witnesses scenes of murder and mayhem, and through them he's able to see the last moments of recently slain. A catholic, Mario seeks constant refuge at the local church, as well as with his psychotherapist, Dr. Justin Avery (Ian Tomaschik), but nothing seems to relieve him of his issues — he keeps witnessing killings inside his head.
Things, however, take a turn for the more bizzare when Mario meets Gabrielle (Dana Perry), a girl who claims she also experiences visions like himself. Aided by her, Mario decides to start taking action upon his visions, as he believes he can stop a chain of murders from happening. Hell-bent on saving the next victim, Mario is, at the same time, only too aware that his own time might be up...or is it?
Well, I always rejoice when I get to review an indie feature which does not rely on zombies, gore, gore, zombies...or gore. Mitchell Reichler's debut directorial feature, Let Me Die Quietly, is, as you already assumed, something completely opposite. Almost completely ignoring the blood & guts trend of modern DV horror, Reichler, along with star / writer Casillo, has managed to craft an intelligent and complex psychological study...and wrap it around some thriller overtones.
Casillo's interpretation of his own script is the strong point of this film, and his lead performance is the thing which keeps you interested early on. Let Me Die Quietly takes around 45 minutes to set itself up, and the pace during this first half can be best described as "terminally slow". Most scenes from this part involve Mario indulging into lengthy conversations with either the priest or his shrink and are rather minimalistic, almost tempting you to skip whole segments of it. While I admit that the temptation, at times, is great, it turns out that those three quarters serve as a base for the rest of the film. Mario, for his part, discusses his depression, his "visions" and his sexual preferences — which are, let me mention it, bisexual, and there are a few somewhat graphical depictions of this scattered throughout.
Things speed up when Gabrielle shows up. Dana Perry's performance is a tad weaker than Casillo's, but she's a servicable love interest who does her part of story catalyst just fine. In the second act, a character of police detective Devlin (Paul Coughlan) is introduced who, along with Tomaschik, forms a strong supporting duo to help Casillo carry this film.
It's when the "thriller" part begins that the picture begins to shine. Casillo has created enough loose ends in the first part of the story, but all wraps up in a satisfactory manner in the final third. While the original story might not be highly original (think Dead Zone meets Unforgettable, the latter a somewhat more obscure Ray Liotta picture you might have seen), the execution works, and so does the conclusion, with a neat little redemption coda.
Despite being shot on a budget that we at HorrorTalk could have provided for, Let Me Die Quietly looks like a professional piece of work. Cinematography, which is handled by an experienced TV do-it-all Edward Read, is an absolute highlight. New York City, as shown in this picture, is a bleak, sad looking town, as the grey and metallic overtones dominate the visuals. Read's camera provides the perfect backdrop for Mario's psychosis and issues and as such has to be commended. Reichler's direction is as well very capable — shots are properly lined, and some more exquisite compositions are well-executed.
It might come off as a slow burn in the beginning (and it is), but don't let this film fool you. Beneath the sheer talkiness of the opening act, there is a clever plot and some good performances scattered through, and it lasts justs enough in order not to wear your patience thin. As far as indie pictures go, this one is gold — and if you have time and desire to watch something like this, your patience will be rewarded.
Video, Audio and Special features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.