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Monday, December 9, 2013

DVD Review: Triple Crossed

Triple Crossed tells the story of a soldier who has returned from Afghanistan, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and living in his car. He needs money and a place to live, and is offered both by a woman who wishes him to kill her deceased brother’s lover.

The film opens with a brief battle scene in Afghanistan, focusing quickly on a soldier on the ground, a certain tattoo on his wrist. It then cuts to Los Angeles, a year or so later. Chris (Jack Brockett) is working out in a park, the same tattoo on his wrist. He calls Jackie to follow up on a job as head of security. Interestingly, in this scene, we don’t see Jackie’s eyes. Her mouth is at the top of the frame, forcing us to focus on her voice, just as Chris does. She has him meet her at her house. And even then right away we don’t see her eyes, for she has on large dark sunglasses.

Jackie (Laura Reilly) tells Chris that he failed the drug test, so her company can’t hire him. But she has a personal job for him – to kill Andrew Warner, her brother’s partner. Her brother was killed in Afghanistan, and he had left his partner fifty-one percent of the family company. It is then she removes her glasses, as if to get a better look at Chris and to show him that she trusts him and knows he’ll do the job. She tells him she’ll set him up with a place to live and fifty thousand dollars in cash.

Meanwhile Andrew (played by Sean Paul Lockhart, who also directed the film) is hanging out with a female friend, Kendra, who tells him it’s time he met someone.

There are flashbacks to the war, hinting at the troubles Chris suffers from, and also hinting at another relationship there.

Chris prepares for his job by meeting Andrew on a jogging path, setting up the groundwork. Back at the place Jackie gave him, he finds Jackie in his shower. She drops her towel, inviting Chris to enjoy fringe benefits of the job. Chris lets her know he’s gay. This scene is interesting, because it’s our first hint that Jackie isn’t quite as confident and aloof as she’d first passed herself off as.  And Chris must notice this too, for it’s then that he demands five hundred thousand rather than fifty thousand to do the job.

Chris gets close to Andrew, letting Andrew be the one to make the moves. And we’re not sure if it’s all part of the job for Chris or not. There is a scene where Chris is seated in the dark, letting the clip drop from his gun then replacing it, over and over. The phone rings, and it’s Andrew. Chris tells him he was just thinking about him. At that moment you think it is all part of the plan.

But then a scene a little later finds Chris and Andrew hiking up at Topanga Canyon. Andrew hurts his ankle, and that leads to them kissing. Again, we don’t know if this is all part of Chris’ plan, or if he’s actually attracted to Andrew, but it seems a bit stronger toward the latter. Also, the ankle thing is done rather clumsily, so you wonder if Andrew is faking it or exaggerating the pain.

There is a scene where Andrew says Chris reminds him of Tyler because he feels safe with him. Chris responds, “Well, you are safe with me.” The shot is from Andrew’s perspective, and is a close-up shot of Chris. So it’s almost like Chris is telling us we’re safe with him. And so we want to trust him at that moment. We hope at that moment he won’t go through with it, that Tyler is safe with him, that we are safe with him, that he’ll lead us out of this somehow.

The film does suffer from some clunky dialogue. For example, after Chris turns down Jackie’s pass, she tells him (while wearing just the towel), “I’m a woman of action, as you’ve just seen here.” And there is a scene with Andrew and Kendra that doesn’t work at all because Kendra is responding to information that Andrew hasn’t given her (that Andrew and Chris stayed in a cheap motel, that Chris has issues, etc.) It’s either some sloppy writing, or else portions of the scene were cut. And in one shot, there is what looks like the shadow of a crew member on a car as it pulls away.

But the film keeps us interested. And the characters are intelligent, which I appreciate. Even Andrew is not as naïve and trusting as he seems.

Special Features

The DVD includes an introduction by the director, who talks a bit about the film and thanks those who helped make it possible. The special features also include “Triple Crossed: Behind The Scenes,” with footage shot on various days of production, including brief, on-the-set interviews. There are also three minutes of outtakes, a music video of a song by Chad Siwik, a photo gallery with behind-the-scenes shots, and the film’s trailer.

Triple Crossed was released on November 12, 2013 through TLA Releasing.

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