Dir: Sebastian Guetierrez
Cast: Gil Bellows, Xander Berkely, Alexis Bledel, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rosario Dawson, Danny DeVito, Robert Forster, Carla Gugino, Josh Hartnett, Zachary Quinto, Michelle Ryan, Lauren Lee Smith, Aaron Tveit, Amber Valletta, Kevin Zegers.
If you have been following my writings with both my film reviews and as well as my weekly recommendations over the past year, you would know that I am quite a fan of multi-character/story films. GIRL WALKS INTO A BAR is another of these types of films, so it definitely peeked my interest right away. Plus it has a pretty good cast of actors in its ensemble. But what I found most interesting about this film was that was the first feature length film to be produced entirely for YouTube, which you can actually watch on there right now as we speak for free (however, it is only available for North American residents only). So what is the film itself actually about?
The film follows the beginnings in a bar when a dentist named Nick (Zachary Quinto) hires a female assassin named Francine Driver (Carla Gugino) to kill his wife Karen (Lauren Lee Smith). However Driver will only kill Nick’s wife if he pays her $20,000 upfront. Nick tells Driver that he doesn’t have the money on him at the moment but tells her that he will go and get it and that he’ll back in a few hours. She agrees to stay at the bar until he comes back. However, what Nick doesn’t know is that Driver is really an undercover cop who actually secretly recorded their entire conversation on a recording device that she had hidden on her so that it can be used to incriminate him. While she waits in the bar, she strikes up a conversation with a charming young man named Henry (Aaron Tveit). After he leaves, Driver discovers that he has stolen her wallet (as well as the recording device that was in it). Knowing that she has lost the only evidence that has incriminate Nick, Driver sets out on an all night journey across every bar in Los Angeles to find Henry. Along the way, we get introduced to a series of different characters in these bars who are all linked to each other in one way or another.
Well, after watching it I have to say that I found it to be a decent, witty and reasonably enjoyable comedy from writer/director Sebastian Guetierrez. This film is definitely more in the same vein as his previous films as director with WOMEN IN TROUBLE and ELEKTRA LUXX, which were also both multi-character/story comedies. One of the things that stood most about this film was the dialogue. You can definitely tell while watching the film that the cast absolutely relished every word that their characters had to say, as the dialogue in Guetierrez’s script is extremely well written and stylized. I could understand why someone might get bored a bit by the film since it’s a very dialogue heavy film but I found the script’s dialogue so written and the actors performing it so well that it made it quite interesting with what was happening on screen
The performances from the cast were all pretty solid; there wasn’t a weak one in the bunch. The ones who stood out for me the most were Carla Gungino (who happens to be Guetierrez long time girlfriend), who gave a wonderful performance as Driver. Robert Foster, who plays an ex-con named Dodge who has a nice scene with Amber Valletta’s character Camilla and Zachary Quinto, who was very good as Nick.
While I did enjoy the film, I have to admit that it does have a lot of flaws. One of the major ones was Guetierrez’s direction. While he directed his cast very well but his directorial style felt pretty amateurish at times in both the film’s look and editing. I suppose the fact that this was a very small budgeted indie may have something to do with it, but he could have made the film with a bit more style so that it could hide its low budget quality (although it has visual moments, the bars that every scene was set it were all beautifully lit and he also has a solid one-take steady cam shot in one scene). Plus I felt that some scenes that didn’t quite work (the scene between Rosario Dawson and Josh Hartnett was one that sprung to mind) and some actors were either underused or wasted in their roles.
Even though GIRL WALKS INTO A BAR isn’t going to be a film that is going to be remembered as one of the best multi-character/story films of all time but that said I still quite enjoyed it overall despite its flaws. If you liked Guetierrez’s other films as a director, than you may enjoy this one as well.
The Australian DVD:
The DVD I reviewed was a screener, so I am unable to comment on Picture/Audio quality.
DVD details here.
Thanks to Bill care of Accent Films for the copy.
– Bede Jermyn