Insidious

  • 2008
  • 1 HR 36 MIN
  • NR
  • Crime, Drama

There are eight million stories in the naked city, and first-time feature filmmaker Jerry Schram tries to cram half of them into this dark ensemble drama about the price of success. On the cusp of his 21st birthday, Donny Rocconi (James Schram, Jerry's son) has achieved more than most aspiring filmmakers: He's made an award-winning feature, "Where Have...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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There are eight million stories in the naked city, and first-time feature filmmaker Jerry Schram tries to cram half of them into this dark ensemble drama about the price of success.

On the cusp of his 21st birthday, Donny Rocconi (James Schram, Jerry's son) has achieved more than most aspiring filmmakers: He's made an award-winning feature, "Where Have All the Good Girls Gone," and had it distributed. But he hasn't graduated from film school because a spiteful professor (Brian Lee Elder) failed him in a key class and the appeals board disregarded Donny's claim of sexual harassment. "Good Girls" made no money and he's run through his trust fund, so Donny can't produce "Insidious," his ambitious screenplay about truth, trust and betrayal. Donny's father is dead and his mother a jet-setting tramp, so he turns to father-figure Gigetto "Geege" Buffalini (Augustus Diorio), a local café owner, for help. Geege has his own problems -- his mob ties are under investigation and the Russian Mafia is encroaching on his turf -- but he lives by an old world sense of loyalty and honor he's passed on to Donny.

Meanwhile, on the sotto voce advice of her lawyer, desperate housewife Arin () hires tabloid reporter Naomi (Megan Corri) to find evidence that will facilitate her divorce from music business bottom-feeder Glock (Lou Martini Jr.). Glock grew up with Geege and once managed popular singer Duke Fontana, yet another son of the old neighborhood. Naomi hires Donny to record Glock abusing undocumented Russian immigrant Gabrielle (Katya Zakharova), a singer who's hooking to pay the bills and is also being pressured by two Federal agents to incriminate Russian gangsters. Glock flirts with beautiful bartender Layn (Allison Carter Thomas), who's trying to raise money to finance a show for Chris (Elisabeth Steen); Glock hooks her up with an equally sleazy friend who might trade financing for sexual favors. Unbeknownst to Lane, Chris has already turned to her old friend Geege, who agrees to help and then reveals that someone she believed dead is very much alive.

And there's more… much more. Stuffed with enough plot to keep a daytime soap opera in emotional meltdowns, reversals of fortune and shocking revelations for months, Schram's film is told in a series of fragmented scenes that eventually come together in a climax of breathtaking preposterousness. His ambition is admirable, but undermined by a largely inexperienced cast who can't begin to transcend such overripe dialogue as "my bank account is flush but my heart is empty," "a half truth is a whole lie" and "rest assured, my mind is locked and loaded, and I will never run out of ammunition!" The title alludes to the insidious way ambition allows people to justify betraying their principles, their friends and their dreams, which is presumably what Donny means when he says "money changes the intention of everything."

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  • Released: 2008
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: There are eight million stories in the naked city, and first-time feature filmmaker Jerry Schram tries to cram half of them into this dark ensemble drama about the price of success. On the cusp of his 21st birthday, Donny Rocconi (James Schram, Jerry's… (more)

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