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DIME CRIMES #34 (short film review)

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Review by Steven Scott
Executive Produced by John Benjamin Hickey, Bob Giraldi, JM Wagner
Produced by Alon Gelnik, Ricardo Lorenzo
Written by JM Wagner
Directed by Ed Hellman
Starring Ashlee Mundy, Jimmy Dalton, JM Wagner

I do love a good short. Having come from a film school background, I’ve made a few in my time, and it’s a great exercise in compact storytelling.

Compact—that’s the tricky part.

Producing a feature length motion picture certainly comes with its own set of challenges, but telling a tight narrative in a short span of time can be equally difficult in that you must take your characters, and by extension, your audience, on an emotional journey in a fraction of the time.

No easy feat.

Dime Crimes #34 introduces us to colorful characters ripped straight from the pages of a pulp comic, and furthermore, takes a mundane scenario of welcoming a new tenant and turns it into a tale of intrigue and suspense.

Who is this slick stranger and why does he look so familiar?

Our protagonist, Doll, is probably someone you know.

An unkempt homebody who likes nothing more than hanging around in her bathrobe while chain smoking and fantasizing about a life less ordinary presented to her in the pulp comics she keeps her nose buried in. These are her escape from the reality of a less than satisfactory partner and a boring existence.

And then, as if by wish fulfillment, Bug steps through the door and into her life.

Bug looks like he walked out of a time capsule. He’d be just as comfortable on the set of Rebel Without a Cause as he is here.

As charming as he is on the outside, red flags are immediately raised as Doll suspects he’s dangerous.

Like Maverick in Top Gun, dangerous.

However, his bad boy nature is of particular interest to our pulp loving escapist and she is compelled to uncover his secret. After all, this is the most exciting thing that’s happened to her since… well, ever!

The whole piece feels timeless in the sense that it could just as easily take place in the ‘50s as today and both the set design and music offer few clues to the ambiguous time period. Ed Hellman’s directing of the actors adds to this as their performances give it a film noir flair that is spot on.

It’s like Double Indemnity, but with less trains.

Special shout out to artist Emilio Lecce who’s done some work for IDW Publishing and here provides original artwork for the pulp comics that play a key role in the story.

The short opens with a shot of his cover art and it really sets the tone for the picture.

Speaking of the story, JM Wagner’s script not only concludes with a shocking twist that brings everything full circle, it’s peppered with Raymond Chandler-esque dialogue that breathes life into its characters. For a small picture, there are some big ideas at play here.

“I’m sold, so where can I scope out this flick for myself?” I hear you asking yourself.

I’m glad you asked. The Rebel, Rebel Productions crew is currently raising funds so they can take Dime Crimes #34 out on the festival circuit and get it screened in front of many more cinema lovers such as you.

But you don’t have to wait for it to come to a festival to check it out – just head over to IndieGoGo and drop as little as $5 to see it now via the wonders of digital technology.

But act fast, as the clock is ticking on this campaign!

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