on DVD) has a lot in common with Seeing Heaven, the British movie about a street hustler who sees visions of murder when sexually engaged. Writer Charles Casillo (The Marilyn Diaries) stars as Mario, a haunted sex addict who sees visions of murder victims but can’t help them. While Seeing Heaven was wrapped in the porn world, Let Me Die Quietly is more of a thriller with a twist ending.
Mario meets another psychic, Gabrielle (Dana Perry), who tells him that she has the same kind of visions, and she hopes that they can make sense of them and help stop a serial killer. As Mario’s narration shows, he knows that to intervene in this murder may mean his own demise, but he is so roused from his fatalistic lifestyle, he can’t help himself. This is pure film noir shot on a shoestring budget, with a level of acting that sometimes lets the story down. The pacing is very slow and deliberate, but if you give it a chance, you’ll be rewarded with an unusual thriller with a lot of twists.
Casillo is handsome but a little bland and unfocused. Perry is much more engaging, and once the pair start trailing the man they think killed a Hell’s Kitchen hustler, their chemistry improves the film. Ian Tomaschik, as Mario’s psychiatrist, is the one glaring bad casting decision. Who would see a therapist who so clearly sounds and acts like a psycho? The character has been helping Mario with his “gift”, so we are misled if we don’t like him and root for him to help Mario.
One of my pet peeves in movies and television is people who have psychic powers that never help them, and instead just move the plot along. Let Me Die Quietly suffers from that affliction big-time, but it makes sense as the film wraps up. It is intriguing that Mario finds himself seduced by Gabrielle in every way, despite him being gay. This may be hard for audiences to buy, but in the film’s world, it works.
Let Me Die Quietly is more like “Let It Play Slowly”, but it has received a lot of love on the festival circuit, so you may find it an engrossing thriller.
Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.