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1 review, 4 user ratings

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Ten 'til Noon
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by Brian McKay

"Life (and Death) in Ten Minute Chunks"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2006 SAN FRANCISCO INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL - Just when you thought only network televised sports could stretch ten minutes of clock time out to an hour and a half, director Scott Storm and screenwriter Paul Osborne bring us TEN 'TIL NOON, a gritty slice of life and death situations served up in ten minute increments – only each time, it’s the same ten minutes as seen from a different character’s point of view. While its style, content, and presentation could easily cause it to be lumped in with films like PULP FICTION, THE USUAL SUSPECTS, or MEMENTO, it relies on none of the non-sequential narrative tricks that those films employ. Rather than jumping around in time, the film simply jumps from location to location, revealing a new piece of the puzzle with every new character.

TEN 'TIL NOON begins with wealthy computer company owner Larry (Rick Wasserman) waking up in his bedroom to be confronted by two calm, well-dressed hit men – or rather, hit people, since one of them is the attractive but silent Ms. Milch (Jenya Lano). The one doing all of the talking, however, is Mr. Jay (Alfonso Freeman, son of Morgan Freeman, and a pretty damn good actor in his own right). Mr. Jay informs the distressed Larry of two facts: 1)His wife, Becky (Rayne Guest), is currently sleeping with another man behind Larry’s back, and 2)Mr. Jay and Ms. Milch have been sent there to kill him, although no explanation is given why. As the clock strikes noon with a gunshot and a rather grisly fantail blood spray against Larry’s bedroom wall, time jumps back ten minutes and starts all over again, this time with Becky having sex with a young actor in a hotel room. Although she claims she’s cheating on her husband simply because he’s “an Asshole,” the statement belies her true motivations. At noon the clock resets to 11:50 again, showing a new group of characters with each reveal, from a pair of bumbling surveillance operatives watching Becky and her lover on hidden cameras, to the enigmatic Mr. Duke (Thomas Kopache) who is guiding Mr. Jay and Ms. Milch’s actions, to Gangster Leo (George Williams) who has his fingers in plenty of pies and at least one big skeleton in his closet.

Despite covering the same ten minutes repeatedly, TEN 'TIL NOON rarely gets stale or repetitive. There is some scene-padding and re-hashing from segment to segment, but this is often unavoidable in order to keep the ten-minute narrative structure intact and make the necessary connections between characters. A few superfluous moments aside, TEN 'TIL NOON boasts an exceedingly strong ensemble cast and an intricate plot that unfolds smoothly from segment to segment, engaging the audience with a tightly-wound crime-drama that progresses with clockwork precision. Despite one or two momentary lapses of logic on the part of the characters (for example, after two criminals have taken great pains to “avoid any public displays”, one of them then makes a very public display moments later in the middle of a hotel parking lot), all of the pieces of the puzzle fit together nicely by the film’s final frame.

Although only superficially similar to other genre films mentioned earlier, TEN 'TIL NOON easily stands beside them as quality crime noir, with solid characters (and actors playing them) and a smart script that squeezes all it can out of each of its ten minute increments. In an era of increasingly formulaic and mainstream crime thrillers, TEN 'TIL NOON is a clear standout and a welcome change of pace.

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originally posted: 03/02/06 06:29:14
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 San Francisco Independent Film Festival For more in the 2006 San Francisco Independent Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/11/06 RSD If Pulp Fiction is great, this movie is pretty good. Neither one is. 2 stars
3/16/06 steven This is an amazing film, it not the same old stuff and I love the limo driver 5 stars
2/16/06 Rob Rodrigue Best of the fest! 5 stars
2/10/06 Roger Andrews Original and exciting! 5 stars
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  30-Mar-2007 (R)
  DVD: 11-Sep-2007


  N/A (R)

Directed by
  Scott Storm

Written by
  Paul Osborne

  Alfonso Freeman
  Rick D. Wasserman
  Rayne Guest
  Jenya Lano
  Thomas Kopache
  Daniel Hagen

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