Heaven, Hell & Heroin
Review by Chris Olson
An addict called Doyle (Joseph A. Halsey) experiences an existential crisis when he overdoses and is greeted by a being called Alexander (Sal Rendino) who offers him a chance at redeeming himself.
Doyle, a disgraced ex-soldier-cum-heroin-addict, must locate a knife held by drug kingpin Tommy (Chris Cardona), in order to appease Alexander and enter safely into the afterlife. However, Alexander’s offer may not be as straight-forward as it seems, and the surrealist nature of Doyle’s imaginings call into question the “reality” of what he is seeing…
Heavy-hitting performances and a solid atmosphere prove Sage knows how to handle a gritty drama like this. There is a ferocious intensity during the short film that remains consistent to the end, reeling the viewer in like a spoonful of drugs. Doyle’s situation is equal measure action and intrigue, delving into the underbelly which he calls home whilst occupying his own inner turmoil. This makes for a compelling watch.
Cardona offers a wonderful, yet short lived, performance, and Halsey squaring off against Rendino during their biting dialogue is spectacular. Nicole Vogt-Lowell also delivers a memorable turn as co-addict Faz.
There is a certain lack of lightness to this overly dark tale of drugs and damnation, an insert of humour would have been well received and could have distinguished the characters more effectively. Personality is not developed fully enough. That being said, the strength of the performers keeps the movie on firm footing during the 18 minute run time, and the action sequences are done with enough grit to impress.
Fans of intense dramas and action movies will enjoy the fruits of Sage’s efforts, and Halsey’s gripping opening scene is a joy to watch for anyone. Viewers who often contemplate heaven, hell, and heroin will be on a high.