Exposition Boulevard (2015) – By Matthew Robinson

I will openly admit that I am a big fan of the film noir genre. There is something about the dark atmosphere of the black and white streets mixed in with a brooding narrator and more often than not a killer plot twist. “It happened on Exposition Blvd.” follows this classic formula to create a fairly enjoyable short film.

The plot is fairly simple a World War II vet becomes entangled in the secrets and lies of his commander’s shadow life and of course falls for his mysterious daughter. With a ten minute running time all of the major plot points are introduced and handled fairly quickly, and in effective fashion.

Shot in black and white with an old school film noir soundtrack humming in the background the opening of this film feels familiar like you had seen it on TCM many years ago. This is one of the short’s strongest points: it truly has a noir atmosphere to it. The narration is witty and charming and helps keep the pace of the story. The costumes and Los Angeles setting also contribute to this feel that you are watching a true period piece. Some of the production design at times does remind you that you are looking at modern LA, but with a small budget it’s sometimes impossible to avoid.

Filmmaker Andrew H. Enriquez handles just about every job on this film, if he didn’t bake the muffins for craft services I will be utterly shocked. Acting in the lead, writing (with contribution from Joanna Enriquez) he also was the editor and cinematographer on this film.

Enriquez does an adequate job as Joe the lead of the story, he has an air about him that fits the genre and the story; coupled with witty lines of course. However his work as a cinematographer leaves a lot to be desired. Shot in 4:3 aspect ratio the film’s cinematic shots feel at times a bit underdeveloped. His angles, and composition rarely add anything to the movie’s dynamic and at times even detracts from the overall experience. His editing while serviceable is clunky in the 2nd act as the film struggles to propel the viewer into the 3rd act.

That being said the film with only a ten minute running length is worth a watch if you are a fan of the film noir genre. Enriquez definitely has potential as an actor, writer and director but I would encourage him to seek out a cinematographer for his next big project. His supporting cast of actors do their jobs, and you can tell they had fun doing the short but at times they can come off a tad wooden and unsure of their direction. The less jobs Enriquez gives himself in the future the more he’ll be able to focus on the performances. I’m willing to say that “It happened on Exposition Blvd” could very well be the start of a promising film career for Enriquez. Something tells me we won’t have to wait long to see his next film.

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