Sole Proprietor: Review

Dan Eberle as Crowley in Sole Proprietor
Dan Eberle as Crowley in Sole Proprietor, which is nicely shot but lacks a compelling storyline

Dan Eberle plays Crowley from the internet in this sparsely plotted spy thriller, with Alexandra Hellquist the high priced prostitute Sophie who he visits early on in the movie.

The first 15 minutes is wasted on this faux sexual encounter. The viewer hopes things will get better, but they do not.

A Honduran drug cartel bag man has been stabbed to death in a suitably graphic manner and two cops, a man and a woman, are dispatched to the scene.

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The woman is straight up but the man is corrupt and operating a few scams of his own. The mob is after him and he needs money fast. While he pursues a load of drug loot, Sophie tries to work secrets out of Crowley while a Russian pimp tries to get whatever he can.

This movie has the makings of a great little film noir, but it does not pass muster for even a routinely written screenplay.

The acting is good and the action is well paced, but there is simply no story to back anything up.

Filmmaker Eberle channels Bruce Willis to a fault in a performance that adds nothing to even the first performances by Willis, let alone his later more nuanced work.

There is no humor or even irony in what Crowley does. It is a dead pan as the day is long, leaving us expecting a big banging breakthrough that never comes.

Drug use, sex and brutal violence weave in and out of multiple time-lines, continually reminding us that these are very bad people while demonstrating how hip and rich they are.

Crime pays and the bad guys seem to have a pretty good life, even if they are killed in the end. The tragedy of their deaths, and the deaths of those victimized by their drugs fall into the background. It is what it is. That is life on the streets. Other hackneyed tropes abound.

If the drugs and sex are taken out of the movie, the running time is cut by half. There is no way a film can survive when half of the screen time is devoted to inner-city bad guy worship.

The production is slick, the cinematography and editing just what is called for, but nothing more.

It is to the film’s credit that there are few martial arts and car chase scenes.

As a film noir, the lead man should learn a lesson of some kind. He should be moved by his mistaken aggrandizement of his own abilities.

By the end of the story we are not sure what Crowley’s skills are. His orders come from a shadowy organization that is as vague as the film’s overall direction.

It is interesting to think what this film would have become with a great screenplay and ten percent of the drugs and sex. It could have been a good story. But what we see here is yesterday’s news.


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