When people talk about spy movies these days it’s megabudget efforts like the Bond, Bourne and Mission Impossible franchises that come to mind, but the genre has a tradition of much smaller and quieter works such as The Third Man and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Dan Eberle’s most recent film Sole Proprietor takes this tradition and melds it with film noir to create an interesting, if uneven thriller.
Writer/director Eberle stars as “Crowley from the Internet” an ex CIA operative looking to put his past behind him and try to rejoin society. Having been declared dead, he waits for his handlers to provide him with his new identity. As he kills time he becomes involved with a French prostitute Sophie (Alexandra Hellquist) who has her own problems. When Crowley is told he’ll have to take care of one more assignment in return for his new identity her problems overlap with his as he’s tossed into a situation involving crooked cops, a dead Cartel bagman and prime suspect Misha (Chris Graham) a Russian pimp who happens to be one of Sophie’s main problems.
Not the most original plot to be sure, and the film is somewhat predictable because of it. It is however well enough done that it stays interesting even if it’s never really enthralling. It also suffers from a Pulp Fictionesque time line that tends to get confusing at times, you may find yourself having to replaying parts to clear things up If this were back in the days of video stores, Sole Proprietor would be the movie you grabbed as your free/bargain film in the hope it lived up to it’s back cover. And on that modest B movie level it succeeds.
The acting is good, Eberle is solid, if a bit generic as the beefy man of action and Graham sufficiently menacing as Misha. It’s Hellquist that stands out as as Sophie, managing to do a lot with a cliched role. However it’s the cinematography and score that really shine, giving the film a look and feel far above it’s indie budget.
Available on VOD after a limited theatrical run, Sole Proprietor will be available on DVD/Blu Ray later this year. For fans of the genre it’s worth checking out.