I wish there were more short films with such quality acting but I guess there simply isn't a market for it. "The Local Stigmatic" is a short movie (58 minutes) that follows a pair of close friends whose relationship carries a veiled sense of intimacy powered by a sociopathic game they play on unsuspecting victims. If you are thinking this is just another crime flick though, you are wrong. There are no investigations, police chases, chest pumping, hostage taking or any of the other actions you'd might expect. This film is a dialog-driven character study or sorts of two Englishmen who live in their own shadowy world apart from the rest of mainstream England.
Al Pacino (Graham) and Paul Guilfoyle (Ray) are great and terrifyingly believable as the sociopathic friends. I won't spoil anything here but let's just say they play a ruthless game with each other that draws in unsuspecting victims much like a prey falls unexpectedly into the spider's trap. One thing that both impressed and frightened me about this film is how real these two characters felt. This film makes me believe that in real life there are two guys out there playing these very same games on random innocent stranger. This quality gives the film a sort of paranoid edge to it that some how reminds me of the far more flamboyant Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick.
The dialog in this film is tense and,for lack of a better way of stating it, fun to listen to. The only drawback in the dialog is the dense English accent that Pacino and Guilfoyle wield so convincingly. You might struggle a bit if you are accustomed to more of a United States accent. A couple of times I thought of putting the closed caption on the TV so I could understand better but I refrained thinking it would somehow take away from this film.
Joseph Mayer plays an actor that Graham (Pacino) and Ray (Guifoyle) find in a local bar. They strike up conversation and Graham and Ray's game beings. The acting in this scene is just flawless. Watch Mayer as he slowly is drawn into Graham and Ray's well practiced web.
The Local Stigmatic is a screenplay written by Heathcoat Williams. David F. Wheeler directs this terrific 58 minute short movie. I give Wheeler credit for his directing. Working a film with a great writer in Heath Williams and three master actors in Paul Guilfoyle, Al Pacino, and Joseph Mayer there isn't much left for you to do but screw it up. Wheeler makes no mistakes and does a great job handling the camera shots (very unique angles taken during on violent scene) and creating a subtlety suspenseful, tense and paranoid mood to this film.
Check it out sometime. Also, the DVD I watched included an interview with Al Pacino taken decades after this film was made. Pacino lends some great insights into this movie.
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