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Cast: Ben Gazzara, David Moscow, Talia Shire, Vincent Pastore, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Angélica Aragón, Roberto Diaz Gomar, Jimmy Morales, Sammy Morales, Michelle Manterola
Arrogant Hollywood talent agent, Josh Ross (David Moscow) is sent to Guatemala to find Oscar-winning actor Jack Palladin (Ben Gazzara). Having never met, the search is emotionally complicated as the long-time retired star was once married to Josh's late mother. Josh's contempt for the 'old' actor mirrors his comedic distaste for the local community whose help he desperately needs to find him. What he hopes will be a quick and lucrative deal turns into a humorous yet soul-searching journey for both.
I was looking forward to sitting down to this little Indie film in hopes that once again I might find another gem and sure enough that was exactly what I found. Filmed on location in the beautiful city of Antigua, Guatemala, the setting almost takes on a character of it's own. The story might seem a bit confusing for the first 15 minutes or so until you get to meet the major players and the wonderful, often hilarious dialogue gets going. The film is about a Hollywood agent who is sent to find and try to convince an American actor to come out of retirement to appear in a sequel to a film he was in a long time ago but finding him let alone getting up to agree on making an appearance in the film is a difficult one for Josh because the locals got Jack's back and they make it hard on Josh from the time he sets foot in their village. The film takes it's time revealing it's secrets and letting us get to know all it's characters on an intimate level, sure the pace is slow but it's deliberate and the settings and wonderful musical score really aid in keeping it that way, it really has a laid-back feel to it. Not only is it interesting and fun to watch Josh become frustrated over finding and doing his best to talk Jack into leaving to do the shoot but the film also has a few other agendas up it's sleeve which we find out about as it moves along. To talk about it in detail would only ruin the experience so I am not going to go into details on what happens. Besides the film having a beautiful setting, clever dialogue and a story that mixes humor and drama together perfectly it also has a magnificent cast to play it's character, it's been way to long since I have seen Ben Gazzara in a film and he doesn't disappoint, the man is a master and he nearly steals every scene he is in. David Moscow is also terrific as Josh, he stands toe to toe with Gazzara and they both play off each other perfectly. The supporting cast is just as stellar, each playing a minor but important role, there's no wasted actors here.
I have had the pleasure of reviewing films for Monterey Media for some time now and I am never disappointed at the quality of their films, each and everyone has had something new to offer and "Looking for Palladin" was no exception. The film offers up just the right amount of laughs to keep it light while providing a story that has a personal mission as well, blended together they make this a delightful Independent film that must not be missed. "Looking for Palladin" is one of those rare films that reminds us why fell in love with cinema in the first place. Do yourself a favor and pick this wonderful film up, you can order the DVD HERE. The DVD comes with Special Features that include:
The Making Of
Released by Monterey Media
***** Out Of *****