By Mark Bell | May 13, 2013

Bill (Tyler Cole) has a unique “gift”: he has painful first-person perspective visions when those close to him are about to die. In this case, he sees his sister Jane’s (Jacqueline Curtis) perspective right before she takes a bullet to the temple. Knowing he has time to try and prevent what he has seen from happening, Bill snaps into action, following the mystery of his missing sister.

Which leads Bill to local drug dealer Shawn (Patrick Hyde), who may have info for Bill, if Bill will do a small job for him. Bill complies, and finds himself deeper down the rabbit hole when he meets up with femme fatale Cheryl (Scarlet Moreno). Will Bill have what it takes to save his sister, or will he be too late?

Filmmaker Saumene Mehrdady’s Cherry and Highland is a modern day noir mystery, complete with saxophone music score and copious amounts of voiceover. While Bill isn’t outright a private investigator, he is a detective of sorts, trying to find out what is going on with his sister. Around the time Cheryl shows up in her red dress, the noir-ness of the entire endeavor is beyond obvious.

And to its aesthetic, the film does a good job. It’s a little more crisp and clean than I normally expect from my noir tales, but the amount of shadow play involved in those classics is often hard to emulate in color films without looking somewhat hokey. This short goes for working the angles, and tries some shadow play, but often just comes across like a short film shot predominantly at night.

Overall, Cherry and Highland‘s story is interesting, but it does stumble in spots. It would feel more like a progression if every clue moved Bill forward; having Bill confront Shawn only to have to return to him later feels like a digression which, while necessary in how the tale is set out, robs some of the narrative momentum from the piece. Whereas it could play somewhat suspenseful considering the time constraints involved, for some reason it doesn’t feel that way at all.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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