Nick Moran is Simon Puritan, a hard-drinking, washed-out writer plagued by migraines, eking out a living conning the grieving with staged psychic readings. Puritan is clearly on the road to self-destruction, but his life takes an unexpected turn one night when a shadowy, disfigured man stops him from stepping in front of a train in a fit of drunken self-loathing. The mysterious man disappears, but not much later turns up at Simon’s door, identifying himself as the husband one of Simon’s upcoming appointments and offering specific details of her grief in the hope that Simon can offer her some comfort. And so Simon meets Ann, the beautiful trophy wife of a famous self-help author and consultant with rumored ties to the mob –- very definitely not the badly burned man with the exhaustive knowledge of her life. Sure enough, Simon soon falls into an affair with her. The strange man returns with warnings of impending doom, the husband ends up dead, and Simon is swept into a cover-up with no idea of who he can trust…
Once a staple of the cinematic world, the film noir is becoming a lost art. Yes, the label still gets tossed around from time to time, but the vast majority of modern noirs are dramatic re-imaginings of the tried and true genre, efforts that lift an idea here and there while jettisoning most of the core hallmarks of the genre. Hadi Hajaig’s Puritan, on the other hand has them all –- the gorgeous cinematography heavy on shadows and contrast; the hard-boiled, down-on-his-luck antihero; the beautiful femme fatale; the betrayals and double-crosses -- plus a healthy supernatural element thrown in to boot. Moran –- the strongest of the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels cast, whose subsequent absence from the screen has been confounding –- turns in a compelling performance as the tormented Puritan, his performance bolstered by Hajaig’s clever writing and astounding visuals.
“Hajaig has a flair for brooding ambience, turning red-lit bars and empty tube stations into hellish zones where whispered dialogue and dark visuals make everything pregnant with meaning” – Jamie Russell, BBC
Director: Hadi Hajaig
Screenplay: Hadi Hajaig
Cast: Nick Moran
Producers: Hadi Hajaig
Distributor: Parliament Films