In a world where taking chances and cutting corners is the norm, The Nocturnal Third takes the viewer on a journey into a night where these norms result in disaster. A young and nervous newlywed whose in debt, an injured worker refusing medical attention, and a wondering stranger, come together for a night of uncertainty, danger, and deceit.
Eli Gottfried (Kevin Maggard) has the typical lower-middle class life; recently married, car in the shop, and deep in debt. He has a typical factory job at Stafford Stoneworks, and needs to take on extra hours on the night shift to keep afloat financially. Luckily, there’s a big job that needs done and Eli gets the hours he needs. Things seem good until he shows up and finds Harold Barks (Wescott Youngson), a middle-aged bearded man with no patience for the younger generation, already toiling away at the job.
Things get much worse when Harold severely injures his hand and refuses medical attention for fear of losing his job. As Harold sits with a badly wounded hand, Jeffrey (Luke Weaver) appears on the scene, claiming he needs to use the phone since his vehicle broke down. Jeffrey’s appearance is suspicious from the start, but Eli tolerates him, even when his sense of humor goes a little too far.
Like most low budget indie films, The Nocturnal Third‘s strongest point is its cinematography. I believe this is due in part to the ease of getting better quality and affordable equipment. As for this film in particular, it also helps that the cinematographer, Stephen Martel Lucas, has several short film credits to his name. The acting is on par with most beginner films, but Luke Weaver stands out as the one with the most spark.
What hurts The Nocturnal Third the most is the writing. With a screenplay, everything rides on story, dialog is secondary to story, and it seems that Stark had a loose premise for a story and hoped to fill in the gaps with dialog. Sadly, this doesn’t work and leads to long scenes where the story stagnates. A tighter story with less dialog would helped the most.
While The Nocturnal Third has its shortcomings, I wouldn’t write off anyone involved. There are people on both sides of the camera here that could go on to do great things, they just need more experience and a tighter focus.
The Nocturnal Third is not currently available in the UK.
Director: Benjamin Stark
Writer: Benjamin Stark
Cast: Kevin Maggard, Luke Weaver, Wescott Youngson