Bless Me Father is the sophomore feature from writer-director-star Gianni McLaughlin. He produced the film with his wife, Milly-May McLaughlin, who also has a part in the movie. The story is a crime drama mixing familial duties, faith, and the dark side of humanity. Tales such as this have been told in cinema before, so do the McLaughlins find a fresh spin on this well-worn material?
Vinny (Gianni McLaughlin) breaks down in a church. The priest, Father Joe (Joesph McLaughlin), agrees to hear the man’s confessions. Thus Vinny describes his juvenile delinquency. Eventually, a relative offers the man a chance to make some real money. Vinny does a good job, which puts him in with The Don (Paris Branda). But as the years go by, The Don demands more and more, forcing Vinny to sacrifice his love (Milly-May McLaughlin) and his soul. Can a murdering drug pusher working for a violent psychopath find redemption?
Bless Me Father may not tread new ground, but it is certainly engaging. McLaughlin clearly has a love for the epic crime dramas that used to ignite the box office. As such, he knows what does and does not work when spinning a yarn involving the mafia. To that end, there’s very little fat on these bones. The setup is done in two minutes, while only a handful of scenes involving the Don himself. This puts the focus squarely on Vinny and his actions. This focused character study makes the flick feel very intimate.
“…The Don demands more and more, forcing Vinny to sacrifice his love…”
Plus, McLaughlin is a good actor. He sells every anguished moment authentically and (of course) shares excellent chemistry with his real-life wife. Their interactions bring a spark of humanity to Vinny, making him more than just a simple hitman.
Also not to be discounted is the music by Dexter Dine, Allen Lynch, and Randy Lynch. The score is romantic, tense, and thrilling. It fits the mood of every scene perfectly and really ratchets up the audience’s investment.
Bless Me Father is an engaging crime drama with some outstanding performances. It is undoubtedly one of the more fully formed feature-length films based on a prior short. While the plot isn’t the most original, the characters are well-developed and will keep all watching invested.
For more information, visit the official Bless Me Father site.
"…the characters are well-developed..."