By Anthony Miele | February 22, 1999

Shot in digital Beta-Cam, “The Item” premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Fest and stars Dawn Marie Valesquez, Dave Pressler, Dan Lake, Ron Fitzgerald, Judy Kwon and Dan Clark. This very intriguing film seems to take all of the cliches that one would expect from modern day “crime” films and adds something intangible that makes these cliches, which usually come off as predictable and cheap, seem somehow new and fresh. This is not to say that every cliche works or that the film is perfect because it is far from that. Writer/director Dan Clark somehow tricks the audience into believing the incredibly ridiculous situations that films in this genre seemingly must contain.
The story is quite basic … Four typical criminals with a history together are hired to acquire an “item” and basically sit on it until the next morning. It is what is contained inside this box that is the crux of the film. This is where the phrase “suspension of disbelief” comes into play, that is to say that the “item” itself looks so unconvincing that one must really want to believe in “it” for the film to gain credibility. As viewers, we find out later that it is not what’s “in” the box that matters rather how the “item” itself affects the person coming in contact with it.
The cast is full of extremely promising new talent. Dawn Marie Valesquez, Dan Lake and Dave Pressler are all very capable young actors. They take the ludicrous “Hong Kong” style shoot-outs that director Clark has dealt them and make them as believable as can be expected. Not to be overshadowed by her supporting cast is the spectacular performance of newcomer Judy Kwon. In fact, it is her performance that is the glue of the entire film. Upon the conclusion of the film, when you realize what her character is made to endure, you will agree that she has definitely earned your respect and admiration.

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