An escaped convict on his way to Texas strikes a deal with a young misfit. This is Screen Critix review of writer and director Andy Kastelic’s new short drama ‘Typhoon’.
In ‘Typhoon’ there is a prison break, a manhunt across Texas, a suicide attempt and a horrific yet ultimately heart-breaking, drug-fuelled murder. Yet at the same time, this short doesn’t show us any of that because at its core it is deeper and far more interesting. It’s about love, loss, guilt and how an innocent child can become a parent, a convicted killer can become a guardian and how they can both lead each other to redemption.
‘Typhoon’ is a movie that doesn’t surprise you, the plot is so familiar that you know what is going to happen before the 16 minutes run time is up and you are left to think it might just run out of steam, but the screenplay by Kastelic is very deep whilst his direction finds quiet moments of perfect truth in his story. Kastelic has directed before but he is mainly a working actor who has appeared in many US TV shows and films, however, he deserves praise for the subtlety and the sadness he has discovered in this short film.
Another veteran of the American TV and film business Jack Forcinito plays the lead role of Magpie who manages to escape from prison. Still handcuffed Magpie takes refuge in a close to ruined, derelict house where in the morning he is woken by a young boy Pete played by Calvin Olson who is fixing a rope to the ceiling to try and hang himself.
Magpie manages to talk the boy down explaining that the knot he has tied is not strong enough to kill him instantly and will only result in him dying more slowly and extremely painfully. In return for the boy’s help in aiding him to escape Magpie promises Pete that due to his military training he will show him how to tie the correct knot that will do the job properly. Then as is the case in all of the movies like this a bond begins to form between the two outcasts
Of course, the heart of Typhoon is in the relationship between the convict and child and if you look really closely you should be able to guess where the relationship of Magpie and Pete is heading as it follows conventional movie patterns. However, what sets the film apart is that Magpie is in fact not a very nice guy, he has regrets of course, but by all accounts, he was a terrible husband and father, he wasn’t wrongly convicted either and the drug-fuelled crime he committed and admits too in the short’s stand out scene is absolutely horrendous. While young Pete himself isn’t a cute movie kid he’s a mixed-up loner who is so upset and alone that he is ready, willing and able to end his own short life.
Forcinito is terrific as Magpie managing to find the pathos in the character with the screen time he has, while Calvin Olson’s Pete is full of hidden pain and depth. The Cinematography by Jannis Schelenze is gorgeous with images and colours that pop right out of the screen with Magpies Orange jumpsuit standing out against the desert and rocky backdrops.
‘Typhoon’ has all of the elements of an outlaw on the run genre picture that you would expect to see but the direction that Kastelic uses gives the film a depth of thought and the freedom of an art film. You will recognise all of the plot points on show here from the numerous other films of its ilk, however, this recognition isn’t because they tell the same story, although to an extent they all do. This recognition is because ‘Typhoon’ tries to get beneath the things that we see in these types of crime movies to find out what they really mean.
‘Typhoon’ is a gem of a film that tells an old story really, really well and I have no hesitation in recommending it with a full quota of 5 stars.