The Lynch Pin



Since “The Groomsmen,” arguably one of Edward Burns’ best films, bombed gloriously at the box office a few years back (it was made for $3 million and made back less than 1 on a theatrical campaign that consisted of a couple hundred theatres that wouldn’t even keep it for a second week), Ed knew that his flock was small in numbers and that if he wanted to keep making the films he wanted to make, he couldn’t release them the old way. The indie film wave he rode in on was long dead.

Ironically, it is his desire to make standard Woody Allen type non-showy relationship movies that seems to have actually propelled him to become a front runner in new technology when it comes to releasing and distributing cinema.

His “Purple Violets” was the first film to bow with a premiere as an ITunes exclusive. Since then, he has taken a few acting parts, and planned his next move.

And now this: a film in six parts, distributed as episodes over the Internet, which complete to form the (about a) hour long movie “The Lynch Pin.” Which is about a hit man who wants out. And lo and behold, his employers have a problem with that. What a unique premise!

Interestingly enough, it is this standardized plot that is the furthest Burns has ever reached as a writer. There are no female characters, no familial angst, nothing except a hit man, played by Burns, who knows that his days are numbered, and begins to suspect that unless he does something, he may find himself the subject of a hit.

And…well the film never really goes anywhere. The first three parts consist of Burns taking on hits, which he states in monotonous voiceover are coming far faster than they should. He has been hired to kill several people over the course of a few days. It isn’t until halfway through that a plot starts developing, which is undercooked, and then levels off to an anticlimactic drive off into the sunset.

However, perhaps it is all for a greater good. The film is shot on The Red, the new digital camera that is super affordable and being touted for some heavier projects (I shot my short on it). Perhaps this was the next step for Burns; this short film serving as a test of what The Red can do (he shot “Looking For Kitty” on a prosumer Panasonic with a lens adapter), and if it can serve his economic means. He has a new film that is about to premiere at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival as part of a new virtual installment which will let anybody join the festival via Internet connection. I have a feeling that film was shot on Red, and I hope it has more to offer us.

But this is fun more in the abstract. I have always liked Burns and his sensibilities. He’s a local boy who made good. A guy who came from humble means who pooled some money together and won the lottery in the form of his “The Brothers McMullen” winning Sundance. He just wants to make his movies. He even resisted acting until he was having trouble getting financing, and then finally agreed (ahem) to work for Spielberg. Since then, he has refused to cave in to the mainstream, and typically takes a beating. But he’s rich and married to a superhot model, so maybe he can take it with a shrug. And hell, he’s still making the films he wants.

And I don’t think he had high aspirations for this. He is just having fun. He’s doing what you might do with a few friends if you got your hands on The Red. Doing a little crime story. And if you had friends with Porsches and money to burn, your film might even look like his too. Now let’s hope his “Nice Guy Johnny” is a film you and your friends might actually see.

(I couldn’t find a poster of the film, but I posted some Google Images for your pleasure.)

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