DESERT RAIN

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 78 minutes
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Studio-Accountant by day and Indie-Filmmaker by night, Steve Loff breathes new vitality into the old “Bonnie and Clyde” tale with his premiere film, “Desert Rain.” Loff also proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that life is one of those things that just can’t be negotiated— not by us mortals, that is.

Filmed on location in Albuquerque, NM, “Desert Rain” is the story of a down-and-out young couple named Dan and Skye. Dan (Daniel Van Hart) is an aspiring songwriter who has recently been professionally and romantically bamboozled by a producer named Lefty (Brea Cola). Giving into a grudge that doesn’t want to quit, Dan and new girlfriend, Skye (Alexandria Morrow), put off their dream of moving to LA and set off in search of Lefty and vigilante-justice.

Running the gamut from comedy to pathos, Loff’s characters are a Hitchcockean mix of over-the-top yet believable, such as gangsta-slumlord, Rico (Jesus Jr.), and Skye’s cryptic brother-in-law, Jack (James Madio). Speaking of ambiguity, there’s Dan and Skye. In their relationship, it is pretty clear that the sexy Skye wears the pants in the family. Someone has to take charge when the squirmy, whiney, prayer-interjecting Dan goes off the deep-end. Of the two, it is definitely Skye who is the more interesting; a disturbing blend of psychopathic and “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm”-style loving support. Maybe Dan is on to something when he just can’t seem to trust the leggy, actress-wannabe with the checkered past.

Also of interest, is Loff’s use of the desert-landscape— with its striking scenes of endless roads against horizons of mutability and almost cartoon-like brilliance.

All in all, “Desert Rain” is a strongly provocative film, with interesting moral and existential undertones. It also boasts a fantastic cast of characters—all magnificently portrayed. And minus occasional camera shakes, one eye-grabbing stretch of lens-flair, and the fact that Dan’s long-planned revenge is perhaps too easily resolved— I can’t find too much wrong with this entertaining feature, and recommend its viewing.

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Posted on August 31, 2011 in Reviews by
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