written and directed by Quasim Basir
starring Cory Herdict
Here’s a small indie film that comes with huge ideas. In telling the parallel stories of drug kingpin Rasheed and ambitious architect Sheed, both played by an extraordinary Cory Herdict, writer/director Quasim Basir takes on a creative-scope that few directors have the guts to.
Unfortunately, it’s the writing part that gets the best of Basir’s vision, where instead of the story’s material running as wild as it’s ambitions, it is kept restrained by cliched matter and dialogue, while taking the typical route of exploiting corrupt corporations and street-level crime. Are they both basically the same thing? No kidding, which is the point that Basir is obviously trying to make here. The character’s stories basically bleed into each other, causing the viewer to lose the difference’s between the two, if there is any, as they both film like a continuation of the same story instead.
Moral dilemmas, relationship and career problems, violence, and other standard-issue themes are tossed around. But even with trick editing, images, and pacing to keep the tension mounting, the stakes just don’t feel that high as they should, being that we don’t have the emotional establishment invested to care in the first place about the two characters. Luckily, an electrifying performance by Herdict makes us care just enough to keep our eyes on the screen. In the end, you admire the heights that Basir and Herdict try to reach. If only the story itself did the same thing, delivering an experimental-effort the likes of which we haven’t seen before.