Directed by: Jack Smith
Written by: Jack Smith
Starring: Lawrence Brown, Ruggero Barlaba, Sharon Puchot
A simple barman is asked by a stranger to do a rather unusual favor.
Bartender Billy (Brown) is working his shift at a fancy bar. Everything appears normal until he strikes up a conversation with an unknown man in a suit named Mark (Barlaba). The man is impressed by how observant Billy is and asks him to a special favor for him: he wants Billy to have a chat with a woman (Puchot), who is going to come at his bar for a drink. Billy needs to observe her, get as much information as he can from her and report back to Mark. If he does as he is told, he will be rewarded. Billy reluctantly agrees, but things don't go according to plan.
Nearly the entire story takes place at the pub's counter. The film begins with normality and the suspense builds up more and more, as the audience is trying to figure out what is going on and who the woman is. The narrative also explores protagonist Billy's lifestyle as a bartender. Although he is not proud of his job, he enjoys working there.
Brown plays an everyday man, who has just happened to get himself involved in a situation which he eventually might wish he had stayed away from. Barlaba's character is a cunning and optimistic man, who is willing to take advantage of other people in order to succeed. Puchot is the one who steals the show, as the person the film's plot evolves around. She is a femme fatale. She is intelligent, cool, observant and knows when someone is trying to deceit her. She gives the impression that if one would go against her, they would regret it.
Smith does a good job directing, keeping the action at the counter and making effective use of closeups. His script contains interesting characters, well-written dialogue and a plot the viewer will want to follow.
The score is rather appropriate, considering the film's tone. It sounds suspenseful and atmospheric.
The main strength of Bar Watch is the suspense it creates. Who is that woman? Why is Mark so interested in her? How will things turn out in Billy's mission? These are questions that are worth pursuing.