The Governor (2007)
The Governor (2007)

Genre: Action Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.

Release Date: April 13th, 2007 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Ray Garcia De Leon Actors: Bob Dolan, Summer Clifford, Travis Thurman, Rich Skidmore, Laura Durant, Shane Stevens, Shane Dean, Heather Kole, Keri Ashcraft

 


 

“T

he Governor” is a film that has commendable only insomuch as it tries very hard to have a unique story, dark and quirky characters, and a criminal underworld tone, all while possessing scant resources. Unfortunately, as the story evolves, it becomes so bizarre that even the antihero is unwatchable, leaving no one left to care for or protagonists in which to emotionally invest. Amusing characters and thrilling endeavors can’t save this film from the extremely low budget feel, the bad acting, or the absurd plot.

Cold and emotionless escort driver John Dorian (Bob Dolan) has been doing his lowlife job longer than he can remember. The gritty world of the sex industry and the dreadful scum he deals with on a regular basis have sunk in permanently; his utter adoption of his profession has made him immune to compassion. This even includes killing his friends when deemed necessary by his employer. When he’s assigned to a new prostitute, the naive and inexperienced Gwen Miller (Summer Clifford), his formerly abandoned heart begins to pump blood again – and he finds himself inexplicably falling in love. But when his boss comes after him for his misdeeds, his tortured past and weighty conscience also hunt him down, leading to a depraved culmination of guns, bullets, and blood.

Copying film noir fairly accurately, “The Governor” illustrates the seedy underworld of hitmen and prostitutes with violence, nudity, and harsh language. But lead actor Dolan attempts a cross between Josh Hartnett’s “The Man” from “Sin City” and Jack Nicholson’s Jake Gittes from “Chinatown,” doing neither convincingly. And the first half of the film is blanketed by a constant and jarring voiceover narration, which, though an aspect of noir worth mimicking, instead annoys with an air of misused imitation.

An obviously nonexistent budget hurts the look and feel of “The Governor” due to crackling and improperly adjusted dialogue volumes, as well as oftentimes blurry or poorly lighted shots. Lots of handheld sequences usually create a sense of immediacy and tension, but here it hurts the eyes with its chaos. The entire project may be a noble attempt for an amateur filmmaker, but the unnaturalness of the story will certainly prevent “The Governor” from gaining any recognition for the effort.

The film does manage, however, to produce several scenes of inventive dialogue and comedic scenarios to break up the monotony of the acting. Feeding soap to a hooker, a burly long-haired assassin stealing a bicycle, and a bloody showdown in a hotel restroom are some of the wittier and more exciting highlights. And an older, matriarchal assassin is perhaps the most intriguing of the characters, surely fit for a place (or a swiping) in a larger production.

Director Ray Garcia De Leon demonstrates ambition, proving that he’s seen enough other films to duplicate style and tone regardless of budgetary restrictions. But the originality of his story is noticeably shy and the appeal of his characters is dangerously minimal. While not every tale needs a conventional or resolute ending, here the total lack of satisfaction of any kind from the odd conclusion seems to be an inexcusable misstep.

– Mike Massie

  • 3/10