Monday, August 11, 2014

Releases on DVD August 12th, 2014; limited release in New York, 2011.
1 hr 26 mins
Rated R


Director: Fred Carpenter

Stephanie Finochio as Jesse
William Forsythe as Vince the Godfather
Armand Assante as Dominick
Eric Roberts as Chris
Anthony Trentacosta as Ralph
Paul Vario as Captain
Michael Wright as Juan
Gaetano LoGiudice as Tommy
Tamara Markowitz as Jesse's Mother
Mitchell Walters as Mitchell
John Sialiano as Billy
Dave Lipsky as Dave

Review by Danale H.

JESSE (played by Stephanie Finochio) is a cop who drinks way too much in order to deal effectively with her difficult past and, it seems, her present situation.  She still does not have custody of her sons, and now her brother has gone missing.  Although she is surrounded by a Detective Superior who wants nothing but the best for her, and a caring bartender, it all seems like it is too much for her to cope with, sober.

This movie was a very hard watch for me.  The synopsis is, Nassau County Police detective Jesse turns vigilante as she investigates her brother's murder and enters into a world of crime, corruption, and shocking deception.  But her career, as a cop, appears to be nonexistent and she has no real contacts with the criminal world or an investigation of it.

This was supposed to be a no holds barred action film in which a cop is driven to the edge after her brother's death, and responds to her grievance by avenging her brother.  However, Jesse was already an edgy cop.  She had no respect for authority (ie. the office scene with her superior in the police department), she did as she pleased.  Usually, films in which cops cross the line for justice, makes for a very interesting movie night.  This is not the case with the 2011 film Jesse.

The movie felt more like it was about a dysfunctional family, in the beginning, but then it became more about a whiney drug dealer "acting" like a mafia crime boss.  The scene where Tommy went to see Ralph (played by Anthony Trentacosta), surrounded by all of his henchmen, reminded me of the Godfather.

There's a lot of indication in this movie, but you don't really see it.  For example, the movie opens with Jesse at a bar, and the bartender telling her she's had enough.  This is an indication of Jesse's drinking problem; however, you don't see it in another scene anywhere else in the movie, her drunk, which would have solidified that she, in fact, does have a drinking problem.  When I think of a drunk, the 1981 classic film Arthur comes to mind.  He was a drunk, Jesse just wanted to take her mind off her problems for one night.

Another indication is that she is a cop, yet you don't see her behave in a cop-like capacity.  However, her career is indicated through her Superior having a conversation with her in his office.  More indication of her cop career is given when the news made mention of an off-duty police officer who came across a hostage / robbery situation in a convenience store.  Otherwise, you never see her do any police work.

The best part of the film, to me, was when Jesse confronted the drug dealers about her brother.  It brought to mind her WWE performances.  Finochio was more believable as a wrestler than an actress, and she curses way too much in this film.

There is a twist in the end, and it is a shock, but it did not help the movie.  The movie was no good, from the actual story to the stage quality acting.  Stage acting?  Yes, stage acting, although, some of the cast members who supported the Jesse film are very strong actors, it did not show.  The acting felt as if scripts were handed out and memorized.  And of course, I know that's what happens, but this should never come to the audiences' mind, especially during the movie.  Director Fred Carpenter's low-budget film, Jesse, could have been a great movie.  Instead, it is an exercise with artificially created conflict.  

Even at 86 minutes, this movie is overkill, but it feels never ending.  Overall, I would not recommend it, and I give it no stars.  I would have like to have seen an entirely different film (i.e. White Heat, Deep Cover, Miami Vice, Training Day, Under Cover Cop, etc.) 


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