Maggie Marvel (2010) – By Duane L. Martin

Maggie Marvel’s (Selene Beretta) not your average single mom. She was born to a mob boss named Dutch, and while she was still a baby, Dutch’s wife Jenny (Ashlee LePine) tried to poison him. He discovered her little plot however and turned the tables on her, but because of his anger at being betrayed, Maggie, who was still just a baby, was sent to be raised by Dixie Brown’s (Katherine Barron) family. Both Dixie and Maggie grew up and became Dutch’s top female assassins. Dixie also works as a school teacher as a day job in order to spot and recruit new talent, which she found in a fourteen year old girl named Polly who’s obsessed with various poisons.

See, Dutch only uses women as assassins because they posess a ruthlessness that men just don’t have. Dutch uses men as his team for "other business" including robberies, extortion, etc…. This team consists of the Shea brothers, Bobby Shea (Dan Brennan), Dylan Shea (Samuel Whitten) and Marvin Shea (Christopher Dourous).

The male and female teams aren’t supposed to mingle, and each has their own lounge area at Dutch’s mansion. This is a pretty hardcore rule from Dutch, but Bobby’s infatuation with Dixie and her rebuffing of his amorous advances leads him to ask Dutch for an exception on an upcoming bank job in which they plan to steal the fortune of a visiting princess. He wants Maggie to help with the job, thinking that it will make Dixie jealous and that she’ll finally accept him. It made Dixie jealous all right, but with unexpected results, and Maggie paid the price.

Through all of this, Maggie is living a completely separate life as a single mom, and tries to juggle both her career and being a parent. Her daughter knows what she does for a living and is ok with it, but eventually she just wants her mom to get out of that life all together, and she enlists Bobby to help her with that.

Sound confusing? Well I got news for you. There’s a whole lot more going on in this than I could ever mention here, and the description I just gave is woefully inadequate and is likely the cause for any confusion you’re experiencing, because this movie is so involved that it’s really hard to put into words.

Now, I don’t mean to imply the movie itself is confusing, because it isn’t. This film is actually really, really well written, beautifully acted and professionally made. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s easily one of the best indie films of 2010. But why? What makes this film so awesome? Well…

The strongest aspect of this film are it’s characters and the actors who played them. Dan Brennan, who wrote and directed the film, was really likeable as Bobby Shea. The character was really cool, because he had this cold, criminal side where the stuff he did as far as the crime side of things didn’t affect him at all, and yet he also had this warm, personable side that did care about some people and just wanted to be loved. Selene Beretta as Maggie really combined the loving single mom vibe with the cold assassin side of the character. When she was with her kid, you could really feel a connection between them, and when she was killing people…it was awesome!

Speaking of kids, the two kids in this film, who both happen to be Dan Brennan’s daughters, are both just wonderful. Dianna Brennan played Maggie’s daughter Samantha. She was very natural with her performance and the interactions between her and her mom really came off as a normal-feeling relationship you’d see between any loving single mother and her daughter. Sabrina Brennan played Poly Poison, the girl who was obsessed with poisons and mixed them together in various recipes for use by the assassins. She also helped out with the bank job, pretending to be a rich princess and helping Maggie out with the safe combination, which had to be tap danced.  Don’t worry if you don’t understand that part.  You will when you see the movie.  Sabrina’s performance was also very natural and her character was really likeable and fun. I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the whole Brennan family in this film. They were all great! The whole cast was in fact, and when you combine a brilliant cast with an excellent story, you really have something special.

The film itself was professionally shot and edited and had a great look from start to finish. The camera shots were all set up nicely, the sets were great, the story moved along at a really nice pace thanks to some quality editing, and just in general, this was a quality production all around. The DVD even comes with some bonus murders as a special feature. They’re not cut rate clips either. These are a few, actual full on scenes, one of which explains the situation with Maggie and her ex-fiance, who she killed when she found out he was cheating on her right before their wedding.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, I loved this film! This is the kind of stuff I love to see. Quality writing, superb acting and a technical prowess that makes the film a pleasure to watch. I’m not sure when the film will be available for purchase, but it’s currently making the rounds at various film festivals where it has earned some much deserved awards, so if you get a chance to see it there, definitely check it out. You’ll want to keep an eye out for it when it becomes available for sale as well, because this is one you’ll want to add to your collection.

Congrats to Dan Brennan and the whole cast and crew for making a really awesome film. I can’t wait to see what Dan comes out with in the future.

If you’d like to find out more about this film or to purchase a digital copy of it for yourself, which I’d highly recommend, you can check out the website at http://maggiemarvel.com.