In Let Me Die Quietly, protagonist Mario is haunted by visions of brutal murders and sexual encounters. Mario has the ability to see the dying moments of murder victims, something that has understandably upset his life in many ways. While this premise is interesting, Let Me Die Quietly ultimately squanders its several successful neo-noir ingredients with endless exposition and dull psychoanalysis.
After Mario's (Charles Casillo) visions become debilitating, he talks to a shrink (Ian Tomaschik), who attempts to locate the root of the trauma. Mario suffers from a sex addiction and the guilt of failing to save victims that previously appeared in his visions. He talks to the police about the impending crime, but even a compassionate detective (Paul Coughlan) has trouble believing his story. Mario then meets Gabrielle (Dana Perry), a young divorcee claiming to have the same psychic abilities, and the pair attempts to stop the next murder.
I sensed a problem with Let Me Die Quietly from the opening scene between Mario and his psychiatrist that lasts roughly ten minutes and is full of psychobabble related to Mario's condition. Within these first minutes I already was losing interest in the film because so much of what was being thrown at me seemed trivial. Unnecessary exposition is a recurring problem for the film, as there are numerous unending scenes of dialogue between characters that do little to move the narrative forward.
It's a shame that Let Me Die Quietly isn't a tighter film, as it has a lot going for it. The lead performances are solid, and, despite having a couple of lines of questionable dialogue, Casillo is believable as the bitterly tormented and confused Mario. I also liked the relationship between Mario and Gabrielle that is based upon their dubious "gifts." Unfortunately, the subplot involving Gabrielle's estranged husband is far less interesting despite its importance to the story.
The moody atmosphere of noir films is mostly present, and the city streets are gray, smokey and cold. Director Mitchell Reichler (first assistant director on the brilliant In the Loop) competently shot Let Me Die Quietly, and the film looks as slick as some higher-budgeted dramas. The film's violent finale is moderately interesting, but not worth the incessant explanation that precedes it. Despite some decent neo-noir attributes, Let Me Die Quietly is a picture of much talk and little action.
Breaking Glass Pictures presents Let Me Die Quietly on DVD with an excellent anamorphic widescreen transfer. Detail is often exceptional, especially in close-ups, and most shots appear deep and textured. The film is full of grays and blacks, but these are accurately represented, and the image avoids becoming murky or washed out. The film appears to have been shot digitally, so there is some recurring digital noise, but I noticed no compression artifacts or moiré effects. Save a few shots that looked a little rough, this is a pleasing presentation.
The film's 5.1 surround track is good but not perfect. The track is mostly front-loaded, and dialogue is generally clear and easily understood. I noticed a few instances of muffled or scratchy dialogue, but I suspect this is a source flaw related to the limited budget and not a defect in the track. The surrounds are occasionally used for ambiance, and the piano-heavy score is bold and fills the sound field. There are a few spots where the score dominates the dialogue, but this is nothing that kept me from understanding what was being said. No subtitles are available.
Extras include an Interview with writer/actor Charles Casillo on the making of Let Me Die Quietly (7:11), The Los Angeles premiere of Let Me Die Quietly (4:55), which, as expected, features footage from the film's premiere, the film's theatrical trailer and bonus previews.
Plodding and undercooked, Let Me Die Quietly has some of the ingredients that make a successful neo-noir film, but it fails to match its extended exposition with any of the expected danger or excitement. Strong performances and an interesting premise cannot save the film, which ends up a solidly produced bore. Breaking Glass' DVD is solid, and noir fans may want to make the film a cautious rental. All others can Skip It.
William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.