Eric Roberts in "Silver Case." (Breaking Glass Pictures )
Anyone seeking an empty-headed, derivative joy ride through crime-comedy conventions could do far worse than "Silver Case," a brisk, good-looking and never dull B movie. With a game cast playing stock types — among them Eric Roberts and Seymour Cassel and their patented brand of twinkling menace — the gleefully pointless genre outing will be a calling card for first-time director Christian Filippella.
The title Maguffin begins its preposterous journey in Italy and lands in Los Angeles for a handover to an iffy courier (Alejandro Cardenas), after which it's promptly stolen by random hoods. A mysterious and malevolent "gift" from one hotshot Hollywood producer (Roberts) to his archrival (Brad Light), the locked metal briefcase eventually winds up in the hands of criminal duo Barabba (Brian Keith Gamble) and Caesar (Chris Facey).
Whether their characters are facing down punks, consulting Cassel's antiques dealer or waxing philosophical, Gamble and Facey handle their Tarantino-esque sparring with assurance, and their comic chemistry is the freshest ingredient in the film.
The screenplay by Filippella and Jason A. White channels countless screen stories, from "Get Shorty" to "Kiss Me Deadly," with asides on moral relativism. Nothing adds up, but it isn't meant to. The strong visuals and confident pacing (Filippella handled the camera work as well as editing) make this a painless spin through striking locations and well-worn movie territory.
No MPAA rating.
Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes.
At Arena Cinema, Hollywood.
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