REVIEWS: Action & Thrillers — May 10, 2012 at 3:03 am

REVIEW: Alleged Gangster Rudy Wright (2012)

Something tells me that stories like this one happen in America every day. Some people truly continue to believe that by taking a “dark shortcut” in life, they can become rich quick. Some of them are lucky, others fail miserably and pay the high price. Gangster Rudy Wright (Andrew Pressman) is just another one of those people, who took the wrong turn, and isn’t bright enough to turn back.

The film starts off with Rudy being just a small-time crook forming a bond with Mexican-American Chico (Jose Pillado), another gangster. On their first joint “job”, the gang gets busted by the cops, and Rudy ends up in prison. Not wasting any time there, Rudy makes new connections, educates himself, and upon leaving prison in three years, he already has big plans. The biggest of which is – to become the gangster of gangsters so to speak.

Reunited with Chico, friends form an organization and plan to takeover Los Angeles. While Rudy’s girlfriend begs him to stop and reconsider his future both for himself and his family (our leading gangster is a father now), Rudy continues to do his business, selling dope to the gangs on the streets, and eyes capturing more and more territory.

What he forgets is that in this kind of business it all comes down to simple loyalty and trust. If it isn’t there – one man’s life doesn’t worth a lot. Rudy has his hands full with FBI and cops one step behind him, plus there’s an informer in his crew, and his big plans just might get shattered sooner than he realizes it.

To be honest, I was surprised to know that “The City is Dark” was shot for only $25,000. Director, writer (and actor as well) Andrew Pressman managed to get some great downtown L.A. locations for his low-budget feature film.

While IMDB has the film listed under the name “The City is Dark”, with a runtime of 109 minutes, another version of the film (the one I saw) is entitled “Alleged Gangster Rudy Wright” and it runs only 79 minutes. I would assume, it is a cut, more fast-paced version of the film, however “The City is Dark” was shot in 2010, while this film is said to be of 2012. Anyway, let’s go on.

Shot in black and white, the film is a low-budget nod to such classic films as “Little Caesar” (1931) and “Scarface” (1932). Presenting itself as a modern crime thriller with a noir touch, “The City is Dark” is technically well made, while the acting could have been a lot better. By the way I was shocked how much Jose Pillado (plays Chico) looks like a childhood neighbor of mine.

Since for a tiny budget like the film had, it is very hard to get any mind-blowing action scenes inserted into the story, everything focuses on conversations and dialogues. And that’s where real acting is required. While almost all the actors in the film have the right faces for the part, their acting is slightly above amateur level, in my opinion.

In this particular case it is either over-acting, or under-acting, no “golden middle” was spotted. Of course one can claim that this way the film brings you closer to reality, however this is supposed to be entertainment, and not an educational documentary about dope dealers and street gangs.

To sum up the review – “The City is Dark” practically screamed “experimental” film at me, yet it was interesting to experience the nature of L.A. street gangs – something I have no real knowledge of.

Andrew Pressman could do a lot more with a bigger budget, and a more entertaining story, as the film does not really offer a viewer something he hasn’t seen before in the same crime thriller/street gangs subgenre.



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