Live One Image

Live One

By Bobby LePire | May 22, 2024

Live One begins with a quote from Dallas Ryan: “…would be like catching 3 foul balls in the same major league baseball game.” The ever-important WHAT would be like that in this awkward metaphor is not expounded upon for much of the 112-minute runtime. Its inclusion at the beginning does not introduce the characters nor set up the world. It comes across as pointless, self-indulgent, and just a bit narcissistic, as Ryan is the writer, director, and star of this thriller full of twists. The line turns out to be from this very film but is one of the goofier, hard to fully comprehend parts. It is a confounding start to this thriller. Is the rest of the movie as confusing as the use of this quote, or is there something good to find here?

Ryan stars as the divorced David. It’s his weekend with his daughter Sophia (Anna Beatriz Tagliaferri Schmitt), but when he wakes up, she is nowhere to be found. David’s wallet and cell phone are missing as well. In their place is a burner phone which rings. Panicking, the man answers the phone, and the distorted voice on the other end of the line informs the father that he has Sophia. She’s unharmed and will not be touched so long as David follows the voice’s instructions. First, the kidnapper has David dress in drag and confess his undying love for his best friend. Next, David must tell his biggest client that he is a neo-Nazi, despite being nothing of the sort. Why did this person target David? Will Sophia remain unharmed?

“…the kidnapper has David dress in drag and confess his undying love for his best friend.”

Odd quotes aside, Live One is an impressive feat. With mostly a single location and a tiny handful of actors, Ryan made a feature-length thriller that is absorbing, even if it’s a little too long. See, there’s a twist that comes some 20 or 30 minutes in. This is a fascinating and relatively original story beat. But it is then intentionally undone for a different plot swerve. As such, those scenes, which involve a black hole, feel pointless, and again, this is pretty close to being 2 hours long. Still, the new revelation is exciting and plays out shockingly well. The final few minutes here are expertly crafted.

Ryan is really good as the befuddled, worried father. The character’s love for his daughter is never in question. The kidnapper/voice has some excellent comedic timing and strong quips. Chloe Gay Brewer plays David’s ex-wife, Monica. Her part is brief, but she makes the absolute most of it. Unfortunately, Stephen Thomas Abbott as the delivery driver, is shockingly terrible in his role. The scene is important, but it does not land because he cannot recite a line believably.

Live One is a little long, and not all the acting is as good as it could or should be. But most of the actors, especially the leads, are quite good. The numerous curves and twists of the plot are engaging and used quite well. Plus, that ending is really something to behold.

Live One (2024)

Directed and Written: Dallas Ryan

Starring: Dallas Ryan, Anna Beatriz Tagliaferri Schmitt, Chloe Gay Brewer, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Live One Image

"…numerous curves and twists..."

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