Movie Review: “11:55” at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival

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Victor Almanzar stars in “11:55,” as Nelson Sanchez, a marine freshly returned from Iraq to his family and in particular, his sister Angie, played by Elizabeth Rodriguez. The first part of the indie feature establishes their relationship before expanding the story to other family and friends, including his girlfriend Livvy (Shirley Rumierk). His and Livvy’s relationship is expanded before his former circumstances are revealed, that led to him signing up for military service and his criminal exploits are exposed in this story. The title “11:55” references the time of reckoning he has to face for an incident that took place 4 years before; which feels to him like a lifetime away now.

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Part of the back story of violence and drugs is presented to explain the consequences Nelson faces. There is a lot of tension in the storyline but there is some comedic relief in a hospital veteran’s group featuring John Leguizamo as Berto: a paraplegic fried who served with Nelson. Needless to say, Leguizamo’s riffing is hilarious and inappropriately off color. David Zayas plays Maurice, the mob boss he once served before joining the Marines. There’s a showdown of sorts that references “High Noon,” but “11:55” is considerably more urban and is informed by Nelson’s Puerto Rican heritage and local gang culture. “11:55” offers a contemporary take on thug-life with the social and societal commentary of allegiances and familial ties. This all leads to a showdown of sorts in a bar setting. Anyone familiar with gangster culture will be surprised by the ending, which takes a route that is somewhat unfamiliar in this particular genre. Its conclusion is satisfying and interesting in a way that rings true for weary warriors faced with greater problems than an old vendetta. 

Billy Bennight

About Billy Bennight

Billy Bennight is a writer, photographer and wardrobe stylist with expertise and years of experience in these disciplines. His musical youth started as a Punk Rocker and has expanded into exploring many genres of music, with an keen interest in art, fashion, photography and writing. He shoots celebrity events and red carpets for PR Photos, Photoshot and The Photo Access/Corbis. His images have been published in Vanity Fair, People Magazine and The Los Angeles Times. He's very engaged in life. You can follow him on his Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/billybennightartist
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