In Theaters

Dealings (2021) - Review (short)

Dealings (2021)

“There are 4 things every person has more than they know . . . “

From the opening moment in which the camera practically glides into Longhorn Saloon , my interest in Dealings, a new short film from Day of Pigs Michael S. Rodriguez has my interest cranked to 11.  Cheri, the pretty blonde bartender calls out last call and that’s when Navajo Jim steps foot into the place.  

"sticks the dagger in us all and then twists on its way out"

Navajo Jim is here on business and it isn’t pretty stuff.  He makes it pretty clear by his gruff responses to Cheri that he’s in no mood to waste time. Someone asks him why he’s called that.  It’s a self explanatory question and Navajo Jim doesn’t miss a beat with his response, “because. . .  I’m . . .  Navajo,” he says.

Turns out that he’s got the proof that Art, the owner of the bar, requires about his wife’s infidelity.  There’s some pretty heavy stuff underfoot throughout Dealings but that’s to be expected.  The characters drink heavily and they plot and scheme, too.  No one is to be trusted . . . it is, after all, just business . . . even if a whole lot of people end up dead.

It’s money they want.

Art, who is oblivious to most of the danger around him, has another job for Navajo Jim, but this dude’s prepared and quickly turns the tables while Art has his back turned.

Intense and full of sharp dialogue, Dealings is shady as hell in its flip-flopping of partners and it all hinges on getting Art to open the safe in his office.  We are immediately drawn into the intrigue because - thanks to a flashback involving Art’s wife, Roxanne, we know something is up.  The joke is on us, though, because there is a whole lot of something's up in this short flick and figuring out what has already happened is part of the fun! Dealings (2021)

We just don’t know how it is going to go down.  And, thanks to the artistry of the pulp fiction on display, we get a glorious reversal that is equal parts sexy as hell AND well-choreographed as Navajo Jim and Cheri make their moves all while The Supremes belt out the floor-stomper, “Stop in the Name of Love”!  This is where the director of photography David Bailey and editor Michael Burciaga absolutely shine with their compositions.  Everything about this bit in the movie works, elevating the short to next level material.

At that moment (about 7 minutes in), Dealings automatically shoots to the top of my list of films which must be seen.  Sex and violence?  Count me in!  And this twisted tale gets even more mischievous as its sticks the dagger in us all and then twists on its way out.

Starring Manuel Rameriz, Artour Pogosian, Sparkle Soojian, Samantha Wolf, Jener DaSilva, D.T. Carney, Lonnie Pelley, and Mark MacPherson, Dealings is a movie about trust in business and the fact is that no one in the Longhorn Saloon can be trusted.  Not when Artie’s life savings are involved.

Turns out, everyone wants a piece of the treasure, but who will come out on top with the money in hand?  That’s part of the fun in Dealings as the double-cross all comes down to timing.  Pay close attention!  Because writer/director Michael R. Rodriguez (Day of the Pigs) isn’t done rotating your skull just yet. 

Stay tuned!  Dealings is going to be hitting the festival circuit soon!

4/5 stars


Dealings (2021)


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