“NIGHT JOB”— First Night

“Night Job”

First Night

Amos Lassen 

In his first feature film, J. Antonio brings us the story of James (Jason Torres), a temp doorman on his first night at his new job as a temporary doorman. Working the night shift is usually a strange experience for many until they become used to it and this is probably because darkness brings out many who are not seen out in the light. Filling in as a night doorman at a Manhattan high-rise apartment building, James meets not only strange tenants but street people as well.

James figured that a job like this would be less stressful than many others. His boss told him that probably the worse that could happen would be a homeless person trying to enter but unlike many other places, New York lives as much at night as it does during the day.

James gets the impression that the tenants of the building enjoy solving their issues and problems in the lobby and he tries to simply do his job of keeping the building quiet and secure sine he really knows nothing of conflict resolution (and that is job anyway). Of course it was hard not to see how many tenants came home after having had a few drinks. James certainly gets his share of oddballs including an exorcist (Robert Youngren), an old eccentric woman (Bettina Skye) who seems to have advice on everything giving unasked advice, a girl (Stacey Weckstein) who wants to help James by encouraging him and tries to make him feel better by kissing him when he needs it the most. James is not alone on the nightshift; there are others (Lester Greene, Hardy Calderon, Jose Espinal) who at first seem to understand to give him coffee and alcohol. His co-worker, the night porter (Greg Kritikos) never is where he is supposed to be and just as James begins to get a hold of how to work this job, a homeless trespassers (Brignel Camilien) appears.

All of the film is in black and white and it all takes place inside the apartment building. The one color sequence that we see is when James dreams about being invited to a party on the roof where he meets a woman. I wondered if director Antonio was reacting to movies who often show dreams in black and white while the rest is in color. Unfortunately, the acting is uneven but that could be due to budget constraints and it is admirable that a director would have such a large cast for a first film. Yet there were several really fine performances— Stacey Weckstein as the girl born with a golden spoon in her mouth and who has never had to want for anything. Timothy J. Cox never seems to have a bad performance and he is again a stand out as the boyfriend who gave his apartment keys to his girlfriend. I hate to not congratulate an actor on a job well done but Torres as James was just okay but then he, being the central character, had the job of reacting to all of the craziness that took place during his shift. Do not write him off, however, he has a lot going for him and I am sure we will be hearing from him and about him in the years to come.

I was not expecting as much humor as we get here and overall this is quite a funny kind of noir film that brings us quite a collection of characters. It takes a bit to become used to the odd narrative of the film but once you do, you will feel like you are in the building looking on as a series of mini-dramas take place. There were so many actors here that if I were to name them all, this review would be five times as long so please excuse me for not citing everyone.