Oct. 19, 2003

Local artist explores film noir

Black and white movie explores controversial issues.

“Losers Lounge,” Indianapolis filmmaker Don Boner’s first feature-length film, is a mixture of the film-noir style of the 1950s and some sensitive and controversial issues
that probably would not have been explored in earlier films produced in this style. Boner addresses the exploitation of women, incest and other sexual abuse, the risks of
illegal abortions, drug abuse and official corruption in this dreary film.

The film was shot in black and white and has fade-outs and fade-ins instead of the sharp cuts that are typical of modern scene changes. There is no comedy, and there are
no happy characters — this style of movie features grim stories of the street and of people who have serious problems.

It is film at its bleakest.

Boner’s stereotypical characters have desperate lives that match the bareness of the film style. They include Joey, the private eye who was wrongly kicked off the police force,
Lisa Losers, the benevolent bar owner, Ginger, the kind-hearted whore, Speedy, the junkie musician, and others who live in the imaginary town of Passionville.

A young woman is killed by strangulation, and Joey is the prime suspect. He has to resort to his detective instincts to find the real killer and save his own skin. There is enough
sex, violence and profanity in this film to make it realistic without any of it being gratuitous.

The shortcomings in “Losers Lounge” are found in its inconsistencies. Some of the dialog is very good; other dialog is weak. Some characters, like Joey (Brian Talbot), and
the crooked mayor (Bob Williams) are convincing; others, such as Regina Cornelius (Lisa Lee) are not as strong.

Production values also fluctuate throughout the movie. One moment the lighting or the camera angles may be perfect; the next moment shadows may cover a face that should be
in the light. And the scenery and clothing do not always accurately represent 1948, the year the story took place.

The inconsistency, however is understandable, as “Losers Lounge” is a “no-budget” picture; less than

$1,000 was spent on making the film — less than what one lunch costs for the crew on a Hollywood movie set. One of the most interesting aspects of this film is how much movie
Boner managed to make for so little money.

“Losers Lounge” is worth seeing. Its minimalist approach is different from the standard movie fare, as is the realistic treatment of difficult social issues.

For more information on Don Boner and “Losers Lounge” visit

By Charles Tidd Staff Writer