July 12th is a day that will be forever etched in your mind after you sit back and take in the first feature film from Long Beach filmmaker, Dan Ringey. The flick is simply called, “Dirty,” yet it is far from a simple tale. “Dirty” is the story of a couple of crooked coppers in Los Angeles, what a novel premise! Novel premise, NO, intriguing romp through the weirdness of the unsavory side of La La Land, YES!
Detectives Jackson and Berg, played to great delight by newcomer Paul Elia and Spike Lee alum, Roger Guenvere Smith are Narcs. Instead of putting the dealers in the grey bar motel where they belong, they relieve them of their ill-gotten booty and often times put them in the ground without a second thought. After a couple years of padding their retirement funds, they are unceremoniously and mysteriously stripped of their loot. A year or so before, Jackson and Berg, after dispatching some bad guys, run out of luck. To their chagrin, an innocent bartender from next door wanders into their crime scene, looking for the buildings usual occupant. As their felonious bubble is about to break, Guenvere Smith’s Berg, puts some hot lead into the bartender played by Adrian Gaeta (Restoration) and without a second thought and great haste, they frame this poor schmuck.
After a kangaroo court convicts him, he is sent to prison and the dirty cops continue their shake downs without hesitation. The bartender’s life seems to come to an untimely end in prison and that seems to be the end of the story. Well if that was the way this tale continued it wouldn’t be even worth finishing. This is where Director, Ringey and screenwriter Benjamin Alexander inject some darkly comic characters into the story line as their crooked cops scour the underbelly of the Southland for their lost drugs and money.
At this point in the film it can only be described as “Twin Peaks meets Die Hard.” The characters have the grit of Bruce Willis, but the luck of a resident of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. As the duo try and use their skills as detectives to track down their stolen goods, they are forced to illude a growing Internal Affairs corruption inquiry. This off the books investigation leads them to the hovel of a twitchy junkie played by none other than Chaz Bono. This in my opinion is the best performance in the film. Chaz in his first turn on the big screen really commits to role as “Jerry The Hoarder.” From his yellowed teeth and slovenly appearance to his spot on ticks, he brings out the worst in Detective Berg to the point of him completely discounting the clues he is providing.
As if matters for these lost public servants weren’t bad enough, Berg has a very significant gambling problem. This leads to several run-ins with an eccentric and menacing bookie played to brilliant effect by David Folsom (Family Physician, Phone Monkeys & The Pacelli’s.) Even our poor bartender, Christopher’s public defender, played by the late Neil Kinsella is a creation more fit for a Lynchian fable rather than a hard boiled crime flick, but it works! The film is littered with well known character actors such as Alexandra Paul (Bay Watch, Melrose Place), and Tony Denison known for his work in “The Closer” and it’s spin off, “Major Crimes” as “Commander Rocco.”
The twists and turns are plentiful and the wicked smiles that you will find playing across your face are just some of the many pleasures of the new crime thrill ride that is known as “Dirty!” Do yourself a service an give this a spin!
Opens on demand and available to stream July 12th, 2016
1 hour 30 minutes
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