A filmmaker with the audacity to make a hardboiled crime drama is stepping into the ring with the greats: Coppola, Scorsese, De Niro, fucking Frank Miller. Doing it on an indie budget is even more ballsy. Directors Ryan Colucci and Dragan Roganovic sacked up and and stepped into the ring and they kill it in their film Suburban Cowboy.
None of the plot is new, it’s hard-boilerplate, if you will, but the film brings some fresh concepts that make the action and the tension sizzle.
Jason (Frank Raducz Jr.) is a low-rent Long Island drug dealer doing his thing with his crew and his life motors along swimmingly. He loves his stripper girlfriend Victoria (Alandrea Martin). The money is good. All is well.
“Jason is left with murderous pissed off Balkan assholes to answer to.”
It’s when his childhood best friend and part of his crew Alex (Matty Finochio) impulsively robs some Serbian gangsters that shit goes pear shaped. Alex ghosts and Jason is left with murderous pissed off Balkan assholes to answer to.
He needs to replace the money plus a “because we can” fee in a short period of time under the usual gangster threat of killing everyone he’s ever met plus his entire facebook friend list. The Serbian thug, Zuk, played to cold blooded precision by Zoran Radanovich, tells him that he hopes he fails to get the money so he can have the pleasure of killing him. Zuk may not actually need the money but he does like shooting punks from Long Island.
Jason is a criminal with a code but everything is on the table when the Serbians start throwing death threats, and he knows he must find Alex and get the money together for Zuk. As the screws are turned, Jason finds strength in his love of horror comics and imagines himself as a fierce Werewolf killing those who threaten his tribe. There’s a wonderful bit of screen magic as we see him in silhouette as the wolf in his most violent moments. His affection and loyalty for Victoria is authentic and grounds the character. She lap dances for him as he’s trying to figure out his next move. It’s erotic and artful as everything fades away and he focuses on her wearing only Wonder Woman body paint
Another key element that makes this film shine is the sound-scape: the filmmakers have made full and extraordinary use of music and sound to drive home the action, beautifully integrated and inspired. The fit and finish of this movie far exceeds it’s budget and expectations. This is what it looks like in the right hands.
“Jason finds strength in his love of horror comics and imagines himself as a fierce Werewolf…”
One nit to pick: The title is off-putting and wrong for the film. It seems to be riffing on the old Urban Cowboy film, but there’s no connection. There must be a thousand better titles. Jason is not a cowboy, he sees himself as a Werewolf. Is Long Island really a suburb? I thought it was a planet full of people with an attitude problem who can’t say “Long Island” as two words. Or pronounce “Coffee.”
Colucci and Roganovic have created something exciting and graceful in Suburban Cowboy.
Suburban Cowboy (2017) Directed by Ryan Colucci (co-director), Dragan Roganovic (co-director). Written by Ryan Colucci. Starring Frank Raducz Jr., Alandrea Martin, Zoran Radanovich.
8 out of 10