Vodka 7 is a moody, dark contemplation of life’s choices for the denizens of a small tavern. As Vance (Bill Purdy) and Leonard (Jonathan Levy) bicker at a back booth over Leonard’s seeming change in heart when it comes to what appears to be a job as a contract killer, lawyers Paul (Matt Gaetano Levin) and Richard (Paul Burke) argue over a recent court case where Richard successfully defended someone Paul considers to be a guilty killer. Meanwhile, Charlotte the telemarketer (Karen McFarlane) sits at the bar, expounding to the disinterested bartender (Tyler Woodruff) about a recent revelation she had about her life after a near death experience.
How, or if, all the characters fit together is of less interest to me than the mood the film evokes, and with its deliberate composition and angles, coupled with the black-and-white imagery, the bar feels like a morality limbo. Everyone seems to be at a crossroads of some sort, and those that are the most sure in their positions are the ones most vulnerable.
Having said all that, I was a bit confused as to what the resolution of the film was supposed to mean, if anything. While I was able to connect some of the characters, I wasn’t entirely sure how strong those connections were. In other words, much of my final interpretation was speculative (which is fine; isn’t it often that way?); I was hoping for something more clear and solid to cling to in the end, but that could be a failing of comprehension on my part.
Overall, as a tonal mood piece, Chris von Hoffmann’s Vodka 7 succeeds. The look and feel of the film was wonderful, and all the acting performances in the film are of the quality variety. My only main criticism was a lack of overall cohesion between story elements in the end, but that doesn’t mean the film isn’t worth a look.
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