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Today’s Netflix Pick is an Indie thriller, a small but clever little piece of film-noir-ish fun starring Jocelin Donahue and Kelly Lynch. There’s something about a well-made and unusual independent film that reminds us how stuck so many mainstream movies tend to be and to take a break from the expected can have plenty of payoffs. So it is with our movie today. It’s The Frontier and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why.
THE STORY: Written and directed by Oren Shai, the film centers on Laine (Donahue) who is on the run from cops and looking for cover. She ends up in the driveway of an isolated dinner and motel where the owner (Lynch) takes her in, sensing she needs help. Of course the place is populated by some colorful types and they all seem connected, which indeed they are. As their schemes unfold, Laine gets some ideas of her own, and we learn no one is innocent in this sleepy backwater dive.
WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: It’s all about the style in this confined thriller with only a few sets and actors, but the pulpy atmosphere and crackling dialogue really sell it. It maintains a purposeful low-grade feel, one that once you get hold of, is really fun as the actors play up the old-school attitudes and acting style. The knee-jerk reaction is to think it’s just cheap but then you realize, oh, this is an homage, and good one at that. Then you’re hooked. An amazing moment with two women in a car is probably the best take in the whole movie and there’s not a word spoken. It’s brash and ballsy and so far off the beaten path, it’s impossible not to look away. Donahue is the whole show though, a strong presence that carries the film and like the rest, is committed to the premise with absolute abandon. (Read our interview with Donahue about this film and more here). The Frontier is uncommon to be sure, but stick with it and it’s guaranteed fun. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.