MOVIE PREVIEW: New Orleans-shot crime thriller ‘Dark Meridian’ features local celebrity as mob boss

You only have one week to catch this New Orleans-shot film in the theater.

Indie film fans can catch the New Orleans crime thriller “Dark Meridian”, opening at the Chalmette Movies on Friday.

The locally-produced film has gained some buzz throughout its production, and I got a chance to preview the film at the cast and crew screening at the Prytania Theatre on Wednesday.

I’m a big proponent of supporting everything local. Not only is this a good movie, but all local talent had a hand the film’s script, production, casting and direction. So, I was excited to take the wild ride of watching this film before its release.

The idea for the film started a few years ago when local production supervisor, Rankin Hickman, dreamed of making his own movie while keeping all production in Louisiana — specifically New Orleans. Hickman developed “Dark Meridian” using his production industry experience, coupled with the resources and contacts he made through the years, as well as his keen writing skills.

The film is sort of a mix between “The Usual Suspects” and “Reservoir Dogs”. If you enjoy mob bosses mixed with revenge and unexpected plots twists, then you’ll enjoy “Dark Meridian”.  You also have to be tolerant towards violence, blood, beatings, shootings — the elements that come with a crime family drama.

The story involves two rival mob families, the Mareks and the Garvins, battling for supremacy in the city of New Orleans.  The boss of the Marek family, Oren Marek, played by the “Most Ordinary Man” (that’s right, New Orleans’ very own Ronnie Lamarque) is determined to get revenge on the man that murdered his son.  Now, while I initially chuckled at the thought of Ronnie Lamarque playing a part in the film, he was actually very convincing in the mob boss role.

Oren enlists his two sons along with a couple of associates to brutally interrogate the man suspected of murdering his son. However, the identity of the man comes into question. Do they have the right guy? Is someone being double-crossed?  Who is the real killer?  You begin to question all of these things throughout the film.

The storyline combined with great acting and the music that carries the film, really keeps it moving. And let’s just talk about the acting. I didn’t realize how much amazing talent we have in our very own city.

New Orleans native Billy Slaughter plays Patrick Fox, the suspected murderer, and he does a phenomenal job. Slaughter’s credits include “The Magnificent Seven”, “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”, “The Big Short”, “Bad Moms” and “Daddy’s Home”, just to name a few. He reminded me of an Edward Norton in his “Primal Fear”, “American History X”, and “Fight Club” days.

James Moses Black plays Detective Spencer Soleno who is an integral part of this film. Black is a New Orleans detective on Oren’s payroll entrusted to provide security for the Marek family.  Black’s credits include “Logan”, “Heart Baby”, and “The Shawshank Redemption”, as well as numerous television appearances.

While I can’t mention all the film’s great actors, I have to at least talk about David Davis. Davis plays Tevi Marek, Oren’s youngest son. He does a great job of playing a somewhat naïve son of a mob boss. His credits include “True Detective”, “The Walking Dead”, “The Big Short”, numerous films with the Syfy Channel, and the leading role in MTV’s “Ladies Man: A Made Movie”.

I believe this is a movie worth seeing, mostly because everyone should support local businesses. And you’ll be entertained while doing it. Also, it’s fun to see if you can recognize the local places featured in the film.

You have one week to catch this film at the Chalmette Movies beginning Friday, October 27. The film opens for a one-week-only special limited engagement. If you happen to miss the showing or want to see it again, it will be available for digital download early next year. And kudos to Chalmette Movies for supporting the local film community.


Rachel Sigur is a frequent contributor to NOLA Weekend. She is also passionate about all things New Orleans.


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