Five Families


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Five Families
"There's a certain flavour here, well executed."

A tense and terse little piece, Five Families sits somewhere around a genre I'll call 'upstate noir'. The slightly more than suburban desperation of The Place Beyond The Pines, the rust and regret of Blue Ruin, the tinnitus and tedium of Copland. Frank is getting on, getting by. Envelopes are handed over. "Finish your bagel, take your medicine", this as much sciatica as Sopranos.

There are generational issues here, talk of 'texting emails', concern that the titular five families (who might be three detectives) don't play by the rules. "What you and I did years ago is one thing" - this is another. There are sums of money being thrown around, lead slung, age and disconnection, zimmer by way of Chandler. There's a certain flavour here, well executed - I did wonder at the beer on a table of Chinese takeaway but Lagunitas IPA can be pretty crisp too. The same here.

Adam Cushman's probably best known for The Maestro but this is not his only short. Here he directs, writes with his star. Barry Primus is Frank, he's one of those actors with so many roles of a small scale that while you've probably never seen him in something you've seen something he's had a small role in. Here he's a hangdog hoodlum, a man unmade by age, but still with responsibilities, concerns, something to hand on. Circumstances, and an ominous Crown Vic, make that difficult.

Scott Morgan's music helps establish the tone, in his guise as Loscil (taking the name from a function in a computer program should be considered indicative). Save for that, there's perhaps nothing new here - old trees make established woods - but it's deftly constructed, confirming looks and suspicions with small moments, even something made certain by close attention to the credits.

Reviewed on: 24 Jun 2019
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A semi-retired associate of the Jewish mafia in Los Angeles tries to save his young grandson from a life of crime as three corrupt cops crack down on local criminals

Director: Adam Cushman

Writer: Adam Cushman, Barry Primus

Starring: David Proval, Barry Primus, Christopher Redman, Laurence Fuller

Year: 2019

Runtime: 10 minutes

Country: US


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Being Frank