Loanshark (2005) – By Duane L. Martin

Loanshark
is the story of a thug named Teddy who acts as a loanshark slash
collector for a local mobster slash businessman. Basically I could end
the story of the plot right there because there’s not much more to it
than that.

The whole film is about Teddy going around to various people
and either roughing them up or intimidating them to get the money they
owe. While this in and of itself wasn’t bad, I would have liked to have
seen more of a serious storyline aspect to the film rather than scene
after scene of him collecting from people. Now that’s not to say that
it didn’t work at all, because in some ways, it actually did.

The film is in black
and white, and the constant
jumping from one encounter to the next in some ways gives it a bit of a
documentary feel.
There is in fact some small bit of storyline going on throughout the
movie, but mostly it all
just comes down to a running series of events all leading up to a final
conclusion without a lot of coherence or consistency in either
character or story. Teddy goes through the whole film switching back
and forth between thug and semi-decent guy modes, which would have
worked a little better if the thug mode had been basically just a work
for the
people that owed him money and not really his true personal
character. The fact that he was generally just a thug really takes away
from whatever
sympathy the viewer might have otherwise felt for him.

For the most part, all of the actors in this film did a decent job,
with just a few exceptions. Now when I say they did a decent job,
that’s not to say that all the acting was great on a technical acting
level, but that the actors came off as real people having an
interaction rather than overdramatizing everything and making it all
sound rehearsed. The line delivery by nearly everyone in this film was
not done as an actor would do it, but as a regular person would do it,
and much of it sounded ad libbed, which added a sense of realism and
enhanced the documentary feel of the film.

The technical quality of the film is a double edged sword. While many
of the camera shots and angles were done really well, the editing and
sound were inconsistent. With the editing, there were a lot of scenes
that felt unfinished. Someone would say something and then the film
would just cut away to something else before the scene felt like it had
concluded. There were also some shots and scenes that either could or should have been cut out
because they were simply unnecessary to the telling of the story. As far as the sound goes, it was just fine as far as the
voices were concerned. I could hear everyone clearly and the quality of
the vocal recording was quite good. What wasn’t good however was that
the background sounds would change with each edit. While this is fine
when you’re editing together scenes that are supposed to express a
passage of time, it’s not so great when you’re cutting together a
linear scene. I can’t really fault the filmmaker for this though
because there’s only so much you can do with background noise short of
re-recording all the voices in post and mixing in a solid background
recording behind it over the edits. I don’t want to sound overly
nitpicky about this because it really wasn’t that bad and didn’t
detract from the film at all.

Basically, this film feels like a documentary about the day to day life
of a loanshark. On that level it works and if you approach it at that
level, you’ll enjoy it a lot more than if you go into it expecting some
big dramatic action movie. I can tell that filmmaker Jay Jennings spent
a lot of time setting up shots and trying to make a visually cool movie
with an interesting story. The movie is visually quite nice looking,
but on a story level, I’m sorry to say it comes up lacking.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, or to purchase a copy for yourself, you can visit the film’s website at http://www.loansharkmovie.com.