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average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Apr 2, 2024

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Isaac Hirotsu Woofter
Written by:
Isaac Hirotsu Woofter
Alexandra Faye Sadeghian, Bryant Carroll, Jessica Pimentel, Ramin Karimloo

A youth leaves her troubled household and heads to New York City, hoping for a fresh start.


Bella (Sadeghian) lives in a house in the countryside with her stepfather, Gordy (Carroll) and her mother, Yeva (Pooya Mohseni). Unfortunately, things are quite bad as Gordy is a drug dealer and Yeva is depressed, weak and anorexic. Eventually, Bella decides to escape and go to New York City with the intention of improving her life. There, she meets a variety of people, including Owais (Karimlo), Marta (Pimentel) and Standrick (Jaye Alexander). After a while, things appear to be improving for Bella, however all changes when Gordy re-enters her world.


A rather downbeat and dramatic feature that looks into the hardships of life through the perspective of a young woman who has been through a lot and wants to do better. The first half or so is about Bella starting over, building a new life and then it moves towards thriller territory. She arrives in the large city almost penniless, with no place to stay and a pet rodent for company. After committing some petty crime, she ends up working at Owais' coffee shop and at a bar with Marta, also befriending them, including Standrick, a homosexual shop worker. Although initially she is reserved and hesitant to talk about herself, after a while she warms up towards them and they reveal their own struggles to her. Just when it seems that Bella's troubles are behind her, the arrival of her stepfather (and his sinister associates) brings danger, threatening to destroy her (and those around her) and confrontations along with life-threatening scenes ensue.


The screenplay does a great job in exploring the characters. Bella makes quite an intriguing protagonist, a troubled angry youngster who is also an animal lover and a talented artist who often puts her creative ideas to use. It is revealed that she is also tough and brave and Sadeghian delivers a very dramatic performance. Gordy is the one who steals the show with his violent and unpredictable behaviour, played very convincingly by Carroll. The people that Bella meets in the city almost act as mentors, teaching her valuable things about life.


The moody cinematography by Maximilian Lewin and Jake Simpson deserves commendations and so does the dramatic and atmospheric score by Ethan Startzman. Both these attributes help create a dark atmosphere that is suitable for the story.


Kristian Otero also deserves praise for the creativity on the editing, particularly the fast cutting that is utilised to highlight the tension when Bella experiences bursts of anger.


Generally, the film is a bit of a slow burner and there might be an issue with the third act, which probably takes too long to get to the conclusion, making the feature feel a bit overlong. Although this might be a negative aspect, it does not do significant damage.


This is a story that travels into some of the harsh realities of life including crime, broken families, loss and depression. Crucially though, it also identifies the importance of support and generosity and the desire to move on to better things. With strong acting and a great deal of drama, this is a painful tale about self-discovery and leaving the past behind and it indicates that sometimes the past can follow a person.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Indie Feature Film
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