A Metropolis Pictures presentation. Produced by Les Bernstein, Anthony Huljev.
Directed by Les Bernstein. Screenplay, Bernstein, Gary Walkow. Camera (DuArt prints), Bernstein, Patrick Melly; editor, George Lockwood; music, Marco Aldaco, Calavera, El Mosco; production designer, Kurt Zendler; art director, Mark Benson; costume designer, Nikoletta Skarlatos. Reviewed at Silver Lake Film Festival, L.A., Sept. 16, 2002. Running time: 80 MIN.
With: John Voldstad, Barry Cutler, Nikoletta Skarlatos, Pedro Aldana, Donna Pieroni, Dan Shot, Chuck Skull, Tony Cruz, Richard Head, Martin Hugo Valdiva Montes.
Longtime visual effects artist Les Bernstein, making his writing-directing debut, has channeled the Orson Welles filmography, particularly "Touch of Evil," in his Tijuana noir, "Night Train." Loosely concerning an ex-con's search for his missing--and presumed dead--brother in a Mexican underworld of cartoonishly shady characters, pic, already well traveled on the fest circuit, makes little overall sense, but should nonetheless delight film buffs with its colorful air and litany of genre references.
Narrated by Sam (Barry Cutler), who aptly describes himself as "the resident shmuck" in this two-bit border town, and who becomes enmeshed in our hero's search, pic's narrative is discursive, and sometimes incomprehensible. But film is actually at its least interesting on those rare occasions when its loose ends do start to add up. Much more attention-getting is film's atmosphere, thick with seedy hideouts and nothing-to-lose soldier-of-fortune types, all brought to vivid life via stunning high-key lighting, deep-space compositions, dynamic canted angles and lots of good old-fashioned process cinematography.