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Critical Beat: Sunday Punch Review

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being directed to the Kickstarter campaign for the short film Sunday Punch via a tweet from star Dichen Lachmen (@Dichenlachmen; she’s worth following).  The film was produced by the company Foe Killer Films, written and directed by Dennis Hauck and starred Dichen Lachmen (“Dollhouse”), Sam Levine (“Freaks and Geeks”) and David Yow (lead singer of The Jesus Lizard and Scratch Acid).

From Ms. Lachmen to the six-shooter in her belt, there's a lot of awesome going on in this poster

Well, my prize came in the mail a few days ago and I have to say it was money well spent.  A quick synopsis, from the  back of of the DVD case:

“Jill’s job is to walk through boxing rings holding up signs that tell the audience what round it is.  Charlie’s a small time gangster that thinks Jill owes him a favor.  That favor is to discreetly drug a boxer that refuses to throw tomorrow night’s fight.  It’s a stupid plan, but Jill isn’t in a position to argue.  It’s all downhill with a bullet, until Jill decides it’s time to start pushing back, hard.”

And that’s pretty much it.  Clocking in at about eighteen minutes, they don’t have time to tell much more of a story than that.  And that’s the only disappointing part with the film.  You feel like there’s more to the story and you’re only getting a glimpse of it.  Sunday Punch leaves you wanting more because it is that good.  You finish the movie wanting to now more about these characters.  Why did Charlie think Jill lived under his thumb?  What happened after the fight?  To create a world where you care about the characters and their lives within such a short timespan is an impressive feat.  At the same time the look and feel of the film is downright beautiful.  Hauck chose to utilize lower lighting and earth tones with the film that gave the viewer a sense of natural desperation within the story.

Dichen Lachmen is mesmerizing in every scene she is in.  Her character Jill is a woman who has been pushed around for too long, and she is finally fed up with it.  Early on in the story she tells David Yow that she is alright with her position in the totem pole of the boxing world, and that may be true.  But Jill is not happy with her position in the totem pole of life.  She has been pushed too far and is not going to take it anymore.  And Dichen Lachmen carries Jill with such confidence that you not only believe to be a strong women, you believe in her as a strong women.

And then there is Sam Levine.  If this was a feature length movie I think Sam Levine would steal every scene he is in.  He plays a small time gangster who thinks he is more important in that world than he really is.  He does this by putting pressure on those below him; in this case Jill.  Every time you see his character, Charlie, and Jill interact you feel the need to take a shower.  And that’s a compliment to Mr. Levine because the way he brings Charlie to the screen is just so naturally creepy.  And he does it all with a smile.

At the end of the day, Sunday Punch is definitely worth checking out.  There are definitely worse ways to spend eighteen minutes of your life.

8/10

J.

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