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Review

Romantic drama 'A Night Without Armor' oozes earnestness

The contemporary romantic drama “A Night Without Armor” (yes, the title of Jewel’s poetry book) borrows the “Before Sunrise” model for its explorations of destiny, love and the road not taken. Meeting under a meteor show at a Civil War-era fort, two complete strangers Adam (Jacob Fishel) and Nicole (Pepper Binkley) share a single night of connection, confessing their personal histories, life philosophies and deepest secrets and desires.

A quick perusal of writer/producer Chaun Domingue’s public biography indicates a shared history with Adam, so it’s clear the film is largely autobiographical or inspired from personal events. The feelings, existential questions and relationship struggles feel real, but that’s where it stops. Nicole behaves in a way that seems like a male fantasy — the way men might want strange women at abandoned forts at night to act. She’s quirky, funny, open, approaches him and strikes up a conversation, then proceeds to persistently draw him out of his shell.

Director Steven Alexander does what he can with the constraints of the script — the characters are relegated to stargazing and exploring the fort at night, so visually there’s not a lot to work with. But the visuals are not the issue that plagues “A Night Without Armor.” Though deeply personal and heartfelt, the overwrought film falls prey to too much melodrama and not enough realism or humor.

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‘A Night Without Armor’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood

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