Review: “Oberst is cold as ice”

ASSASSINS is a short film that inspired a feature film. The feature is set for a 2016 releaseHere’s the short, with Bill Oberst Jr. as the character he reprises in the feature. Mike Bonomo directed both: 

Mike Thomas at reviewed it:

Movie Review by Mike

Assassins: You Have the Gun, I Have the Power

Favorite Movie Quote: “Is that it?”

“Sometimes, it’s just the words.

Nathan (Bill Oberst, Jr., in an uncharacteristic three-piece suit), walks in on Walter (Vincente DiSanti), who is sitting in the bathroom, definitely distraught. What follows when they meet at the kitchen table is a demonstration that a gun does not give you power.

Nathan, though apparently weaponless (we know he’s not – we see his gun), with just words, forces Walter to remove the gun from his intruder’s head. Nathan then strikes up a conversation correlating sex and death. He explains, in measured tones, using volume to make his point, how reality never meets expectations. Again, he has the power.

In your gut you know one of them will be dead by the end, but you’re not entirely sure if Walter wiil “man up” in an act of desperation, or relinquish the power to Nathan, as he has for the entire short.

Roll Credits.

ASSASSINS is my very favorite genre of drama – the cat-and-mouse two-person dialogue. No explosions, no special effects, no nudity (two dudes – thank God!), just two persons, one victim, one victimizer. Bill Oberst, Jr., the one man who you would never want to meet in a dark alley, is cold-as-ice Nathan, the seasoned veteran, far more experienced than his “charge.” Vincente DiSante is perfect as the pitiful/pitiable Walter, the grasshopper to Nathan’s teacher. The dialogue is more a monologue, with Walter chiming in when he has the strength to muster up a response. We see flashbacks of Walter inaugural hit, a crime of passion, not of professionalism. we’re not entirely sure if Nathan was there to teach him, or teach him a lesson. It’s a sad, tense tale, almost like dropping a mouse on a hot plate, and watching him squirm. The Victim (Citlyn Sabrio), seen only in flashbacks, was the assumed “hit.” You try to find the twist, but there is really none. This was a very linear tale told in camera angles, close-ups and the coldest monologue I’ve heard in a long time.

As unaccustomed as I am to reviewing shorts, my usual grading system is shot to hell (sorry, bad pun). Instead, I’ll strongly recommend you take 10 minutes out of your life and enjoy some solid, no-gimmicks acting. Once this short is available, any fan of Bill Oberst, Jr. will see a side of him that is a refreshing change of pace. This is his movie, and every thing else is scenery.”


Film Review: “Oberst channels Harvey Keitel”

ASSASSINS is a short film that inspired a feature film. The feature is set for a 2016 releaseHere’s the short, with Bill Oberst Jr. as the character he reprises in the feature. Mike Bonomo directed both: 

Ken Kastenhuber reviewed the short for McBastard’s Mausoleum:


“A short film. It sounds pretty easy, right? Pumping out a compressed little story in an abbreviated form with a beginning, middle and an end that’s coherent and intriguing… wait, that actually sounds kind of excruciating now that I think about it. Well thankfully for you there’s short subject directors like Michael Bonomo who fully understand what it takes to make not just a great short film but just a great film, period..

The filmmaker’s sixth short film ASSASSINS is a tale of the fateful meeting of two hitmen; the seasoned, steely-eyed pro Nathan (Bill Oberst Jr., DISMAL) and the newbie Walter (Vicente Disanti) who may just not be cut out for this line of work. Without spoiling the ten minute film too much Walter is a novice hitman whose hit has goes horribly awry. Nathan is then called in to clean-up the mess one way or the other, well there you go.

Right from the get go the film is a well-directed, taut and tense beast, it’s a pretty slick short with high production value, attractive cinematography and lighting, tight editing and a low-key but effective score from Kristen Baum (THE BOOK OF ELI).

When it was all over and done with I definitely wanted more in the best possible way, it maintained it’s mystery while revealing just enough, which is pretty impressive for a ten minute film. I was left with lingering flavors of Michael Mann’s COLLATERAL and a few choice bits of Quentin Tarantino’s PULP FICTION as Oberst seemingly channels some of Harvey Keitel’s “The Wolf” from that film, the seasoned professional sent in to clean things up.

High marks to this tense thriller from Michael Bonomo, be sure check out his website at the link below where you can watch a few of his previous short films. The film is not yet available online as Bonomo will be travelling the film on the festival circuit quite soon. Also be sure to check out Bill Oberst Jr. over at the wickedly interactive Facebook app,  Take This Lollipop, a truly unnerving social media mindfuck that must be experienced first hand to fully appreciate.”