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Review: Dead-on noir ‘Los Angeles Overnight’ fails to grab hold

Arielle Brachfeld in a scene from “Los Angeles Overnight.” Credit: High Noon Films
Arielle Brachfeld in the movie “Los Angeles Overnight.”
(High Noon Films)

Director Michael Chrisoulakis makes his feature directorial debut with a script written by Guy J. Jackson, who also co-stars in “Los Angeles Overnight.” Peter Bogdonavich, Lin Shaye, and Sally Kirkland all cameo in this eerie crime tale about a desperate aspiring actress, Priscilla (Arielle Brachfeld), who gets caught up in the dark underbelly of Hollywood.

There’s an uncanny sense of dread that pervades “Los Angeles Overnight,” thanks to a voice-over from Bogdanovich’s hypnotherapist character, and a super-cool synth score by Michael Lira. Priscilla is an actress and a waitress at a divey diner named Monroe’s where she dresses up in Marilyn drag to sling coffee and eggs. When she overhears a few regular customers talking about a new stash of purloined cash, she’s intrigued.

This L.A. noir is heavily indebted to the likes of “Mulholland Dr.,” working that same groove of a struggling actress pushed to the brink, who seizes opportunity when she’s hit rock bottom. The film threads together a few narrative lines that inevitably must meet, and do, in clashes of vengeance and violence.

Though “Los Angeles Overnight” is in many ways challenging and philosophical, it’s a familiar tale about a woman who compromises herself to survive in a business that feeds on the hopes and dreams of newcomers. The aesthetic is just right, but it’s a bit too obtuse, mannered and affected to sink its hooks into you, and it keeps the audience at arms’ length.

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‘Los Angeles Overnight’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood

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