The Soho Film Festival ran its course for the fourth time on April 5-12 in the Landmark Sunshine Cinema Theater, in Soho, New York. The festival featured over 70 films and shorts and brought together not only new and aspiring filmmakers, actors, writer and all, but also brought already established filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts to share ideas.
One of the films at the festival was West End, a film that is described as “Hamlet on the Jersey Shore.” Directed and written by Joe Basile, who also stars in the film as a priest, the film stars Eric Roberts, Peter Onorati, Neal Bledsoe, Isabella Hofmann, Joe Nieves, Lou Martini Jr. and a bunch more people.
If there ever were a reason to love Shakespeare any more than you already do (or at least should), this is the reason. Shakespeare’s versatile story comes along quite greatly in this new version never thought imaginable- Jersey Shore mobsters. (Trust me, even if you never read Hamlet, you know the story. I bet you saw The Lion King right? Well there you go).
Let’s give some review: Vic Trevi’s (played by Neal Bledsoe) dad (played by Eric Roberts) mysteriously gets shot. Vic returns home to find his mother (Isabella Hofmann) grieving while his uncle (Peter Onorati) becomes close to both Vic’s friend Buddy (Joe Nieves) and mother.
Well wasn’t that a mouthful? Basically, Vic Trevi is a undercover cop who returns home to find the person who killed his father, and throughout his ordeal, he discovers secrets he never thought possible. Through the twists and turns of the film, I found it quite compelling and extremely well-thought out. It was one of those “edge of your seat” kind of movies, with everything you’d expect- action, comedy, romance, drama, and anything in between.
West End marvelously enwraps the viewer into a never ending state of paranoia. All the problems ever imagined are in this film- betrayal, love, revenge, death, anything. I guess one of my favorite parts would have to be the strained relationship conversations between Vic and his uncle. Both Onorati and Bledsoe wonderfully master the intense “awkwardness in the air” feeling that you can even sense while sitting in the audience.
After the film, Joe Basile and most of the cast stuck around and gave their opinions on the film and how it was made. Since the film was shot in the Jersey Shore, many of the comments were about the affects of Hurricane Sandy. Since the super storm did hit the New York-New Jersey area, mostly every person there understood the troubles the cast spoke about. They apparently ended filming right before the storm hit and recently had a screening where all the proceeds ended going to the victims.
I give it a 8 ★★★★★★★★ It was really captivating and perfectly executed, if you can just take away a few clichéd things, it’d be perfect. Check out the trailer below: