CAPSULE: A CIA operative hoping to retire finds himself drawn back into one last piece of deadly work as his ticket to retiring. Jack of all cinematic trades Dan Eberle does the most of everything creative on this film. He produces, writes, directs, for this film that stars--who else?--Dan Eberle. With nobody to tell him when he is wrong he lets himself go a little astray stylistically, but he has a few nice moves in the screenplay as his story goes on. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10
In SOLE PROPRIETOR Dan Eberle plays Crowley, formerly an agent for the CIA. Crowley is used to traveling the world, but this story is set almost entirely in Manhattan (likely perhaps so that the production could economize). Now he is weary of the killing-people vocation and wants to retire. However retiring is not easy. The film is about Crowley, a man of action, very strong, very masculine--a role that Eberle might well enjoy playing. But Crowley has Michael Corleone's problem. "Just when I thought I was out they pull me back in." Eberle has to do one more piece of work. And while that job is prepared for him he is amusing himself with a very top-grade prostitute, the mysterious Sophie (Alexandra Hellquist). Soon the characters will be closely linked.
Eberle says that he gives actors the space to excel in the films he directs. I wonder if that is voluntary. It seems to me that he might have to give up some control on the performances. With all the tasks he has assigned himself, he perhaps does not have resource to manage each performance as well. So the title of his film may be apt and refer to him. He most likely does not have time to spell things out for the cast. Eberle is the star of the film; he is the sole source of the story; he is the sole writer of the screenplay; he is one of the producers; and he is the sole director of the film. He has given himself a lot to do wearing all those hats on making SOLE PROPRIETOR. As a result the acting is spotty, some good, some just okay. Chris Graham could have had an ounce more ethnicity in his part as a Russian killer. Alexandra Hellquist on the other hand is intriguing as the prostitute. Eberle plays his own role as strong and a little in the mold of actors like Jason Statham, particularly with two day growth of beard.
While at times the film runs a little slow, by the time it is all over there has been a story told. Some touches seem a bit artificial. While everything in the city seem to be shown in cold steel blue and gray, scenes shout in the countryside break out in yellow-green. SOLE PROPRIETOR does not rise far, but it does rise above it very low budget. While some corners might have had to be cut on the production, Eberle had the freedom to make the story as good as he could write it. It does not fall into the trap of being a typical action film. Just when it is needed to wake up the viewer enough plot elements come together to make the film at least interesting. I rate SOLE PROPRIETOR a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10.
August 12 SOLE PROPRIETOR was released Internet download and to limited theatrical release.
Film Credits: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1733729/combined
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/sole_proprietor
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2016 Mark R. Leeper