Directed by: Jack Nicoletti
Written by: Jack Nicoletti
Starring: Evan Newton, Josh Blanchett, Micah McCord, Blake Mounts, Vinny Nicoletti
A dark comedy about two teenage friends, who unwillingly get involved with drug dealers, leading to all sorts of shenanigans.
Jake (Newton) and Ben (Blanchett) are two highschool friends. Almost immediately after they are hired at a local video store, their new boss Vince (McCord) instructs them to deliver a package to a local theater. They soon discover that the package actually contains illegal drugs and decide to take it to its destination. What follows is a series of misadventures, including dangerous criminals, murders, awkward confrontations and a man wearing an animal mask.
Filmmaker Nicoletti managed to make this movie primarily due to support from relatives and friends. He filmed and acted in this crime comedy while in highschool and his parents had acting parts. Filming took place on location in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on an almost nonexistent budget and Newton and Blanchett got the starring roles after applying through a Craigslist advertisement. The production was rather humble but the result was worth it. The plot is interesting, the humour is amusing and the characters are wacky, particularly the criminals. The soundtrack is also great.
Unsurprisingly, considering that the budget was nearly zero and the cast and crew had limited experience, there are flaws. At times the camerawork is clumsy and the audio sounds distorted. However, they are good enough to make the viewing decent. The acting is not very convincing but the cast deliver entertaining performances regardless.
The narrative is nonlinear and cuts back and forth in time throughout, showing the same events, but from another character's perspective. It also provides scenes that explain how scenes seen previously came to be.
What makes this movie appealing is the story: two boys happen to get themselves into deep trouble and it is enjoyable watching the bad guys pursue them.
The Middle Men is a solid example that a big production budget is not essential in order to end up with a satisfactory film.