Nightfire (2020)

What a happy, accidental discovery—considering B&S About Movies is in the midst of its “James Bond Month” extravaganza.

Filmed in the popular cinematic location of Verona, Italy, one of the locations for the 2008 James Bond entry, Quantum of Solace, Nightfire is a timely story about the plight of the Ukrainian people and the United States’ involvement in that country’s conflict.

At the Sokov Military Base, located 32 miles from the Ukrainian border of the country of Belarus, the mission of CIA operatives Carter (Lorenzo Pisoni; guest star on U.S TV’s The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU, and Elementary) and Ross (Greg Hadley; new to the scene and very good here) to retrieve two military chips containing top-secret content goes awry when they compromise their mission objective to rescue Olivetti, an international political prisoner. And Carter comes to discover it’s never about the freedom of a country and its citizens: it’s always about greed. And no one is who they say they are.

The marquee name here is the-you-watch-anything-he’s-in Dylan Baker, as Olivetti. Dating back to his support role in Steve Martin’s Planes, Trains & Automobiles, you’ve come to know Baker as he delivered the goods countless times on U.S television series, such as Law & Order: TOS and the Chicago P.D./Fire franchise, along with his starring roles on Blindspot, The Good Wife, and Homeland—and his role as Dr. Curt Conners in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise. The cast is rounded out by Bradley Stryker (guest roles on TV’s Arrow, Cold Case, and CSI:NY) and Becky Ann Baker (star of HBO’s Girls, as well as The Blacklist and Hunters).

Nightfire is the fifth student-short production by French-born writer-director Brando Benetton and, considering this is a college thesis project shot on a low budget in 14 days—the quality is of an astounding, major studio quality. That quality comes courtesy of the production’s use of Red Epic Dragon cameras and the implementation of non-CGI practical effects. The car chases and real explosions are masterfully executed by the Corridori Brothers—you know their work; nothing too exciting: just films like the The Italian Job, Mission: Impossible III, and Spectre (the team also worked on maestro Dario Argento’s Do You Like Hitchock? and Giallo). Considering the 45-minute runtime, the spy action-thriller adventures of Lorenzo Pisoni’s Agent Carter can easily be picked up by a major U.S television or grittier cable network and expanded into an hour-long drama. If not, there’s definitely a feature film in its experimental, truncated frames.

Benetton is currently working as a Second Assistant Director on a very intriguing feature film—his first feature—currently in post-production. Voodoo MacBeth concerns the young and arrogant Orson Welles staging the first all-black production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in 1936 Harlem.

You can learn more about Nightfire and the career of Brando Benetton courtesy of a three-minute behind the scenes vignette on the Vimeo page of Great Dane Productions. You can watch Nightfire as an Amazon Prime and Hulu stream beginning May 1. It has since become available on the free-with-ads steam service, Tubi. Benetton has since worked as a first assistant director on the indie drama Voodoo Macbeth and thriller, The Summond (both 2021).

Disclaimer: This movie was sent to us by its PR company and, as you know, that has no bearing on our review.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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