THIS WAY OUT OF BROOKLYN
Produced and Directed by Dean St. John and Michael Serrian
Written by Michael Serrian
Director of Photography - Dean St. John
Tony - Josef Pilato
Mikey - Ken Arquelio
Aphrodite - Loridawn Messuri
I remember when The Sprocket Factory had their debut effort, CRUISING PURGATORY, given away as a free promotional item with a paid subscription to Femmes Fatales Magazine (ironic considering the magazine generally trashes anything shot on video). In the pages of that once-fun magazine, there was an article promoting actress Loridawn Messuri and the next big thing in b-movies.
Talk about selling someone short. With fierce, balls-out performances that drip white-hot sexuality in both CRUISING PURGATORY and THIS WAY OUT OF BROOKLYN, Messuri delivers A-list star quality to the doorstep of Hollywood in a package that couldn't come with a prettier bow. What I can't figure out is why Hollywood hasn't answered the doorbell!
Yes, hyperbole aside, she's that good. A damn near Perfect 10 who can actually act. What are the odds of that...
It also helps that she has people casting her in strong films. CRUISING PURGATORY was a film where the Sprocket Factory founders, Dean St. John and Micheal Serrian, could get their name out. Better than it had to be, CP was a French New Wave film about spirituality and sexual relationships disguised as a b-horror/action/buddy flick.
For their sophomore outing, Dean and Micheal forgo the epic scope of CP for a much smaller, yet equally ambitious, character-driven suburban noir tale about two brothers from Brooklyn and the two days they spend together in California.
Tony, the older of the two, left New York years ago to escape his father's tyrannical reign. Mikey stayed behind to take care of the family business and raise a family of his own. Years of friction and secrets come to a head as Mikey grows attracted to Tony's woman, Aphrodite, who has secrets of her own.
The first 30 minutes is almost entirely Tony and Mikey at the kitchen table going round and round in that brother-speak where only true family can see the underlying love in the insults and barbs. As the topics flowed, I pictured MY DINNER WITH ANDRE by way of Quentine Taratino. It's punchy banter that should grow stale or boring at going on for so long, but you find yourself hanging on every word just to see where the exchange takes you. Often, those places aren't pretty. In fact, they're down right ugly.
Tony is the kind of man who is always looking for that lucky break just around the corner. For him, that break came in Aphrodite. She better than he deserves, and he knows it. For once in his life, he's hit the jackpot.
Mikey is the guy who had everything handed to him on Daddy's Silver Plater. But that's not enough, he lacks the one thing Tony truly has, self-reliance. Tony is his own man, and that's something Mikey only wishes he can be. Mikey's underlying self hatred drives him to covet all things that belong to his brother, and that includes Aphrodite.
In THIS WAY OUT OF BROOKLYN, there are no good guys or bad guys, just guys who fall victim to that gray area in between. Molded in the image of their father, Tony and Mikey are destined to play out their existence in games of one-upmanship, always wanting what the other has.
Loridawn Messuir's role of Aphrodite is even more complicated. She has the unfortunate task of making her role as a plot device credible. As audience members, we have to believe that she can stir the emotions, and not just the genitalia. Her character is a modern day Helen of Troy. A character men would go to war and fight to the very death over.
I mentioned before how ambitious a project this is. Shot on Video efforts are starting to take on legitimacy in today's cinema, but up until now star power, names like Sigorney Weaver or Jennifer Jason Lee, had to be attached if the filmmakers wanted any type of exposure outside of the exploitation realm. St. John and Serrian are taking a risk by making a film this good and hoping that quality will carry it through.
My fingers are crossed, too.
The Sprocket Factory