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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

'Detonator' DVD: Saga of Retired Punk Rock Prince is Da Bomb

The wonderfully modern noir drama "Detonator," which was released theatrically and online in early April 2014, is a tailor-made addition to the library of awesome Philadelphia-based indie studio Breaking Glass Pictures.

This film, which is based and shot in the City of Brotherly Love, fully validates the previously expressed opinion of Unreal TV that Glass is the proper heir to the throne of former top Philadelphia-based art-house film company TLA Entertainment.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the trailer of "Detonator" offers a sample of how this film aptly follows the similarly low-budget and raw look of similar films from the '80s when the punk movement was taking off.

This pervasively very gritty look of this film is also perfect both for the seedy side of Philly that it depicts and this tale of former punk rocker Sully (rather than Sheena) getting caught up in the dangerous scheme of former Detonator bandmate/friend Mick.

The opening scene graphically establishes the lengths to which Sully is going to leave his days as the front man for his local Philadelphia  punk rock band behind and be a good father to his five-year old son and reliable/loving partner to the mother of the boy.

Conflict soon develops in the form of the arrival of Mick, who has spiraled downward since Detonator fizzled out. His problems extend beyond his impending 30-day jail sentence.

In typical indie-film fashion, Mick soon persuades/coerces Sully into joining him on a nocturnal walk on the wild side. Much of this quest relates to obtaining a potentially valuable tape of their former band.

The start of this rapidly increasingly perilous adventure will prompt thoughts of "Warriors, come out and plaaay" in the minds of fans of classic low-budget films of this genre. However, this aptly literally dark and red-tinted hellish journey is more psychological than physical along the lines of a baseball bat wielding gang member threatening to transform you into a human popsicle.

Suffice it to say, Mick recklessly ticks off the wrong psychopath. This ultimately leads to Sully's Choice in the form of either delivering his buddy up to this gentleman who does not play well with others or having his son discover where his father falls along the "my father can beat up your father" scale.

Further, the filmmakers expertly (awesomely simply is not a very punk term) job integrating the Philly punk rock theme into the film. The settings seem authentic and Joe Jack Talcum of The Dead Milkman (rather than the Dead Kennedys) provides the score, which includes a catchy ode to teen angst/rejection of middle-class values.

Further, the perfect casting draws you into the story. Lawrence Michael Levine, who plays Sully, is an up-and-coming indie film star who most likely will show up in a Coen Brothers or Sophia Coppola flick one of these days. He has a perfect handle on his former punk/current suburban dad character. This past give him the courage to not run when he hears scat, and any fear that he feels does not lead to involuntary scat in the other sense of that word.

Ben Fine does equally well as Mick; suburban types who have never lived on the wild side would avoid him on the street and would never invite him into their home.

The first final note regarding this future indie classic is that, in the immortal words of the horribly sadly not immortal Merritt Butrick (who also plays Kirk's son in two "Star Trek" films) as Johnny Slash in the '80s sitcom "Square Pegs," punk is a "totally different head" than new wave "totally."

The second final note regarding this future indie classic is that it serves up a sympathetic character in a setting that is a nice place to visit via the safety of a theater or living room but that most of us would not to make our residence.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Detonator" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.