800 Image


By Brian Bertoldo | August 23, 1999

“800” is a conspiracy thriller based upon the tragic crash of TWA flight 800 off the coast of Long Island. The plot revolves around photographs of a Presidential affair and the government’s efforts to eliminate both the photos and anyone involved. Shot for $400, no I didn’t leave out any zeroes, “800” is as low budget as filmmaking can get, and it shows. The acting and shot set-ups are on par with low-grade porn. Each scene is like the “slow” parts of an adult video you fast forward through to get to the sex.
Aside from the acting and filmmaking technique, “800” works only in the premise of its story. Tabloid reporter Jack Field (Billy Q. Williams) has compromising photos of the President (Scott LoBaido) with a prostitute (Elizabeth Craynon). Oh by the way, the prostitute’s name is Monica, how appropriate. National Security Advisor Jerome Marcus (Anthony Mondella), complete with earring and goatee, discovers the existence of the photos and assigns NSA Agent Cooper, with government issue ponytail, to eliminate the evidence and Mr. Field, in order to save the Presidency. After bumping off the reporter in a New York church, it is discovered that some of the photos are missing and a second party is involved. Our second party is Diane Shelby (June Fennell), a freelance reporter and associate of Mr. Field’s. Diane’s on her way to Paris to sell the photos to a tabloid. Which flight is she booked for, you guessed it, TWA flight 800. Other than the second party will be on this flight, the government has yet to make the connection between her and Field. Mr. Marcus gives Agent Cooper until 8:00pm to find out who the second party is. The flight leaves at 10:00pm. In the interim we meet other peripheral characters associated with the flight including an electrical contractor Jefferson Ross (Eddie Grace) and basket ball player Kevin Williams (Johann Tonnessen). When Agent Cooper does discover the association between Field and Ms. Shelby, he’s too late. Mr. Marcus has already ordered the Navy to shoot down the plane as a test of their new missile guidance system. The lives of 230 people are sacrificed for the sake of avoiding embarrassment for the President. The film closes with shots of the passengers we got to know and the loved ones they left behind.
With better dialogue, actors, and crew, not to mention actual financing, this story’s got a chance at being an engaging film. Unfortunately, in this incarnation, it becomes lost to the inadequacies of the whole. Mr. Parisen’s got what could be a hot script though, and should try shopping it around the independent film community.

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