Whenever a low budget filmmaker decides to do a crime drama, I have my reservations. It’s very hard to find the right actors, the effects can be difficult to make believable and the movie can become a real mess, real fast. Well, it only took about two minutes for me to realize that The Life I Lived was the exception to that particular rule! The Life I Lived is that rarest of things, a low budget crime drama that really works and it very good.
The story here is fairly simple, a local mobster, who’s about to retire from his life of crime, tells his story while attempting to set his son up as his successor. Now, that might sound fairly simple, but this is a very complex story about the how a man can get sucked into a life of crime and what that does to your life, your family and, ultimately, his soul. The real heart of the piece is Richard Bennett as Bill Cacchiotti, a businessman who’s only trying to get ahead, when he finds himself wondering about the other rich people in town, who don’t seem to work. When he confronts them he finds himself drawn into the life of crime, except with Bill, the crime takes over his life and he finds himself the leader of a small syndicate in his area. Richard’s Bill is so believable that, if I ever run into him, I’ll be respectful (I don’t wanna get wacked!). The entire cast is great, but the movie really hangs on the reality that Bennett brings to the piece, and it really pays off.
Writer/director Ben E. Solenberger has put together that nearly impossible thing, a low budget crime drama that really works! Now, you’re going to think that I’m blowing smoke here, but I’d put this up against any other crime movie out there, Godfather and Goodfellas included, it’s that believable and realistic. Credit also has to be given to Mr. Solenberger for keeping the violence largely off-screen, we all know that squibs and other gun related effects can be cost prohibitive to a low budget film-maker and, by keeping the camera on the gunman rather then the victim, the violence doesn’t lose any reality, it’s very effective and makes the film that much more realistic. I’m giving The Life I Lived four out of four cigars, because it really did draw me in and made me wonder what was next…not that Solenberger leaves the movie open for a sequel. You can check out where to see The Life I Lived for yourself by dropping by The Life I Lived MySpace page to find out more about this excellent movie! So, until next time, when I’ll be putting out a hit on my rivals…if I can find any, until then remember that the best movies are bad movies.