-Review by Nic Brown-
Las Vegas is famous world over as a capital of vice. The main business is gambling, but the roots of organized crime run deep in the city and they touch many people. One of them is Eddie G, a small time bookie and professional gambler. Eddie dreams about getting out of the business and starting over, but reality comes knocking on his door in the form of a crooked police detective named Decker. Eddie’s roommate, a loser meth addict known as Worm, has filmed an underground fight where something went wrong and now Decker needs that footage or it’s his ass on the line. Using Eddie as his guide through the different layers of the Vegas underworld, the two go in search of Worm and the tape. During this journey Eddie learns how far he’ll go to survive, and his place in the machinery of the Vegas underworld shown in VEGASLAND.
Filmed by the Yuzzi Brothers (co-writers/directors/producers Thomas Vosicky and Kenneth Kit Lamug) for an amazingly small budget of just $2000, VEGASLAND takes the viewer below the flashy lights and tourist glamour that is the Las Vegas most people know, and into the darker side of the city. Eddie G. is not just Decker’s guide in finding Worm, he also leads the audience. Eddie provides background and helps to flesh out the characters that make up his part of the Vegas underworld.
What filmmakers Vosicky and Lamug lacked in budget they made up for with determination and creativity and that shows on the screen. They’ve made believable and interesting characters and given them dialogue that is intelligent and realistic. The central characters, Eddie (Ernell Manabat) and Decker (Greg Opal), have an interesting and ever changing relationship in the film as their journey together, although short, proves to be life altering for both characters.
Although the dialogue is well written, the film does occasionally drag during some of the “flashbacks”. However, unlike many independent films, VEGASLAND doesn’t suffer on screen from its almost non-existent budget. Another indy-filmmaker, Mike Conway, once said “To make a good film you need either money or time.” Well the Yuzzi Brothers team took their time and made what money they had count and it shows. Good acting, excellent locations, and a good soundtrack all make VEGASLAND an independent crime drama well worth watching. In fact the creators even made a first rate website to accompany the film at www.vegaslandmovie.com. So check out the website and if you have the opportunity, take a look at Thomas Vosicky and Kenneth Kit Lamug’s VEGASLAND. Do it and don’t be a tool!