A hitman (Christopher Backus) is tasked with a brutal job in order to get his love (Talita Maia) back from a sadistic criminal (Judd Laurance). He completes his task, however, and all that stands between him and the return of his loved one is the final exchange of the bloody proof of his success. Or so he thinks, as the situation has changed, and the two henchmen (Alexander DiPersia and Gregor Manns) on hand to collect don’t seem to have his best interests at heart.
Siavash Farahani’s short film Domino Falling plays out like a teaser for a longer project and that’s probably because that’s precisely what it is. According to the film’s website, this short “pays tribute to the films of Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah, is composed of several scenes from the completed feature length screenplay and is a teaser for the full version.” To those ends, yes, that all comes across. Give us a taste of a few entertaining characters, some ultraviolence and crude behavior, the main conflict set up and then the film is over. Not much resolution, not much explanation, just the hits.
But it sure looks and sounds great; is stylistically on point. While the filmmaker wants you to think of Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah (and that comes through wonderfully), audience members less familiar with those filmmakers will find comparisons to a different pair of filmmakers likewise influenced by Leone and Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. The fast-talking henchmen seem like they walked right out of a Tarantino film, and our hitman hero has a look that could fit in as a stunt double for Johnny Depp in Rodriguez’s Once Upon a Time in Mexico. This comparison isn’t meant to insult, but to show that the shorthand that filmmakers are using to filter these cinematic influences is starting to show commonalities, but how could it not? Share influences, share ideas.
At least this isn’t like that span of the Nineties where every indie film tried to be Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction, to ever-diminishing returns. Instead, while the comparisons can be made, the film establishes its own story and world that would be interesting to continue spending time in. It’d be nice to get even more back story about the characters, and follow through to the end.
Again, though, this is a teaser, so that’s what it does. You get just enough to get interested, and then it’s done. Well, you’ve got my attention, now I want to see the rest. Keep up the high quality of the composition and the visuals, and bring me something unique now that I’m intrigued.
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