Nothing is ever over!
The art of indie filmmaking has, is, and will always be by far the best cinematic experience. Give yourself to the cause and you’ll see. No fancy CGI, superheroes, or overrated violence. Pure art. Pure love. Pure passion. And that’s exactly what “11:55” represents – art, love, and passion! Directors Ari Issler and Ben Snyder have presented the world with a genuine piece of filmmaking. “11:55” (which debuted at last year’s Los Angeles Film Festival) is a modern day “High Noon” (’52), with an urban twist.
Co-written by lead actor Victor Almanzar (along with directors Issler and Snyder), “11:55” follows U.S. Marine Nelson Sanchez (Almanzar) in a timely manner after a long tour of duty in Afghanistan. Returning to his rough neighborhood in Newburgh, NY, despite the celebration courtesy of his family (Elizabeth Rodriguez) and loving girlfriend (Shirley Rumierk), a harsh, haunting past he thought had been left for dead in one battle field, rises back to haunt him in the comfort of his own home. As he tries to balance out a seesaw of emotions, his options are determined by either keeping it in the streets (rounding up the fellas), utilizing military smarts (John Leguizamo), or defying the odds and taking a high road towards redemption.
The film is a simple, subtle look inside a realm of many realities. All wars are different, yet all wars are the same. (Even the ones here at home!) “11:55” is a thought-provoking film on many levels nurtured with lots of unfortunate events. It’s a perfect example of uneven footing towards redemption. It’s rough, rugged, and raw. The cryptic countdown approach among the plot keeps one on the edge of insanity. It reflects upon the reality of the streets, while gripping upon your psyche as each key character exposes their affect and reactions as they become aware of Nelson’s situation.
Much love and respect to its entire Latino cast whose roles aren’t generic and/or stereotypical. All took the role ball and darted with it. Standout performances for sure had to be a well-executed PTSD scene among a group of veterans which is spearheaded by John Leguzamo who steals the show. But not too far behind are the ladies. Fierce and flawless performances by all, a special shout out to Shirley Rumierk whose heavy-hitting role as Livvy (Nelson’s girlfriend) provides a wave of emotions.
Less is indeed more, and that’s exactly what “11:55” proves. Captivatingly crafted and socially relevant for modern times, this gripping tale is one that’ll linger within for quite some time.
Grade: A / Genre: Drama / Rated: NR / Run Time: 1:20
Starring: Victor Almanzar, Shirley Rumierk, Elzabeth Rodriguez, David Zayas, Julia Styles, and John Leguizamo
Directed by: Ari J. Issler and Ben Snyder
In select theaters and On-Demand, Friday, June 9
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