Middle Man, an official opening night selection of the 2016 Portland Film Festival and an official selection of the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival, tells the story of Lenny, a former accountant who takes off for Vegas to pursue a career in stand up comedy only to find himself in the middle of a murderous underworld. The film, directed by Ned Crowley, features acting performances from Jim O'Heir, Andrew J. West, Josh McDermitt, Anne Dudek, Tracey Walter, and Robert Catrini.
From the first few moments of this film, you realize it is going to be a very unique experience and definitely not your average, run of the mill night at the movies. For this being Ned Crowley's first directorial effort and second as a writer, the finished product has the same type of polished look and cohesiveness that you might expect from a more experienced film maker. It's honestly no easy task to describe this film as Crowley really takes it into some very surreal spaces which is very intentional and deliberately takes you just off the edge of sanity. While Jim O'Heir turns in a fabulous performance in the lead role, the rest of the cast is filled out nicely with actors you normally see on TV like Josh McDermitt (The Walking Dead) and Anne Dudek (Mad Men).
Middle Man is sort of a mixed bag of inspiration taking cues from the mind bending style of the Twilight Zone series to the outrageously twisted catalog of Tarantino films and really reminds me a lot of Cheap Thrills, another festival darling that went down a similarly blood soaked rabbit hole. Like I said, this one is hard to describe, totally worth the ride, and something you just have to see for yourself.
Check out my "TwoOhSix Picks" article to see what other films you don't want to miss out on during the 2016 Portland Film Festival. Thanks for reading and enjoy the festival!