Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Now this is what an independent film can be if it wants to.  I can safely say that I didn’t recognize anybody in this movie, not even slightly.  You know how you see that guy that was in that thing that you saw, playing that dude?  That guy wasn’t in this movie.  So most, if not all of the actors in ‘Ten ‘til Noon’ were virtual unknowns.  There was the black guy in the beginning who I thought had a passing resemblance to Morgan Freeman, and since the credits didn’t roll until the end, we had to wait until then to find that the actors name was Alfonso Freeman.  Whoa, he must be Morgan’s brother since dude looks like he’s about fifty, I thought to myself.  But no, Alfonso is actually Morgan Freeman’s child, which makes sense since the elder freeman is 69 years old, so it’s logical that he and his wife would have a 47 year old son.  Of course this mindless prattle is neither here nor there, just illustrating the point that the unknown cast of ‘Ten ‘til Noon’ was just outstanding.

The time is 11:50am and Larry Taylor (Rick D. Wasserman) wakes up to find Mr. Jay (Freeman) and Ms. Milch (Jenya Lano) in his bedroom waiting for him to awake.  Larry is obviously a bit startled and would like to know why they are there.  They are there to kill him as luck would have it, and they seemed pretty focused in on that task no matter how much money Larry offers them, or how much he begs.  At 12:00, Larry catches one in the head.  While Larry is eating lead, his wife Becky (Rayne Guest) is having illicit relations in a hotel with an out of work actor while being watched by a couple of surveillance dudes who are working for the mysterious Mr. Duke (Thomas Kopache), who in turn is working for the obnoxious homophobe Leo (George Williams).  We get to see what all of these individuals are doing in the ten minutes before Larry gets whacked at 12:00 pm but we’re going to have to wait to find out why Larry is getting killed and who exactly wanted him killed in the first place.

‘Ten ‘til Noon’ had every opportunity to spiral out of control and become one unbridled, incoherent mess.  The branching, parallel story line absolutely requires a disciplined, coherent core and it must recognize what’s happened before and during various points in it’s narrow time frame of our ten minutes or it will fail.  Top off the complexity of the narrative with first time screenwriter Paul Osborne and first time director Scott Storm, and the afore mentioned unknown cast and what we have here is a definite recipe for disaster.

No people, what have here is truly one heck of a fine film.  Truth be told, these guys pretty much had me at hello.  From the opening frames with white text on black displaying the time, and Alonso Freeman’s voice telling Larry to wake up, then the framing of Mr. Jay and Ms. Milch and Larry’s reaction to these people in his bedroom was just, for lack of a better word, cool.  I’m thinking to myself ‘Okay, it’s looking like I’m gonna like this one’ and that was dependent on them maintaining the cool stylish tone that was set in the opening scene, which I am proud to say, maintain they did.

Probably the best thing that ‘Ten ‘til Noon’ had going for it was that it wasn’t predictable.  I sat there watching this film, not knowing what was coming next, unsure of where it was going, and as it turns out, I didn’t even know what I had seen already.  There were times where it looked like the story was just about on the edge of careening off the side of the treacherous cliff it was navigating, but Storm and Osborne always managed to casually pull it back squarely on the road.

Acting is not easy.  Obviously.  I’m pretty sure that everybody in ‘Ten ‘til Noon’ isn’t a great actor, but one thing I am certain of is that the filmmakers made sure to cast whatever actors they used toward the strengths of what they could do and as such, each performance in the film had a genuine tinge of authenticity to it.  In addition to the excellent characters and actors, the direction was tight the pacing was brisk and there was nary a dull moment to be had.

Lastly, one of my major complaints about movies in general is if you’re gonna suck, please don’t waste my time in doing it.  Which is why there will always be a special place in my colon for ‘Bad Boys 2’ which took 2 ½ hours to completely suck.  Then there’s a personal fave I often rave about in ‘Torque’ which only took 80 minutes to suck, and as such is now a neo classic.  Imagine the joy of a film that takes a little more than 80 minutes to actually be good!  No time wasted, and a warm fuzzy in the belly after it’s over.  I can’t say enough good things about ‘Ten til Noon’, and hopefully others will be able to see this little indie gem and say the same.

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