VOD film review: Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
Ivan Radford | On 31, Jan 2021
Director: Bill Ross, Turner Ross
Cast: Peter Elwell, Michael Martin, Shay Walker
Watch Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets online in the UK: Curzon Home Cinema / iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
For many at the end of 2020, the prospect of going to the pub was a treasured dream – not necessarily of going to imbibe alcohol but of going to soak up the atmosphere and social intimacy. In The Roaring Twenties, tucked away from the tourist strip in Las Vegas, things are more intimate than most bars, and filmmakers Bill Ross and Turner Ross dive into the vibe with a wonderfully entertaining and immersive approach.
Their fly-on-the-wall storytelling gets us up close to the locals who traipse in – and rarely traipse out – of the drinking hole, a hole in which regulars are happy to tumble into and around. The movie introduces us to the dilapidated venue as it prepares for its last ever night before closing, and that sense of something almost hallowed about to disappear makes for an intoxicating experience.
The Ross brothers follow the bar through the day and night, as drinking increases and occasional tensions flare up, but there’s no real plot to speak of from a carefully crafted yet freewheeling affair – it’s just a pleasure to observe these eccentric and interesting faces flirt, dance or bicker with each other. And what an ensemble it is, almost to the point where they could have been professional actors cast to play such craggy worn-down veterans or boisterous sexegenarians.
At just 98 minutes, it’s a beautifully conceived ride that flies by in no time at all, with a sense of things evolving naturally in real-time even as the directors no doubt ensured the safety of all vino-veritas participants involved. The result is heady slice of cinema that celebrates the sozzled wisdom of the local boozer, a place where people can still come together and find solace and companionship no matter what’s going on outside the doors. All life is here, and the stories those lives tell always go down smooth.