Friday, March 25 @ 9:30pm | Brattle Theatre
2015 | USA | 90 minutes
Director: Malik Bader
Screenwriter: Nikola Shreli
Cast: Nickola Shreli, Stivi Paskoski, Malik Bader
Born and raised within tight-knit Balkan Detroit, screenwriter & actor Nickola Shreli plays Elvis Martini, a guilt-wracked widower and the ‘King’ of faltering landlords. Elvis is neither an unlucky dad with a heart of gold, nor a pathological scumbag. He is deeply flawed, but Shreli imbues Elvis with unquestionable pathos even as his desperation graduates into irreversible criminality. As bookies and bill collectors come for their money, his good intentions give way to increasingly terrible decisions and absolutely untenable financial solutions that will culminate in a frantic race against the clock.
In the realm of taut, realistic street thrillers, director Malik Bader gets it. His attention to detail, setting, and the ‘small moments’ are as critical to the film’s success as the strong performances. The underworld intersection of American and not-American boasts the hopeful yet stark bleakness of Nicolas Winding Refn rather than the flashy, in-your-face metaphor of Antoine Fuqua.
More than just another gritty crime drama laced with religious allegory, Cash Only is a raw, heart-wrenching glimpse into Detroit’s insular Albanian community. It is also a timely reminder that buying into the American Dream often only yields crippling debt.
– Melinda Green
Michael Mazzuca, 15 min.
A man is forced to deal with a troubled stranger that he mistakes for somebody else after deliberately hitting him with his car on Christmas Eve.