Relationship Secrets Can Be Deadly

Bruce Von Stiers

Patrick Lazzara is an actor, director, screenwriter and producer. As an actor, he's been in such films as Zombies Vs. Strippers and You Can't Have It. Lazzara has several short films that he directed, produced and wrote the screenplays for. Not too long ago, I reviewed a thriller short film that Lazzara wrote, directed, and starred in called Restless.

This year finds Lazzara completing his latest project. That project is a feature film noir styled crime drama titled Burn. The synopsis for the film is that there's a hitman who finds out his little brother has done something very stupid. The brother has killed the wife of a mob boss. And the hitman must find the brother and get him out of town. Because if he can't, little brother will be killed.

A few of the people who worked on Restless helped on this film as well. The cinematographer for both was Carlos Jimenez, who has extensive credits in different tasks behind the camera. Also working on both films was Eugene Gordon as editor and Pietro Milanesi in charge of the music. And, as with Restless, Lazzarza wrote the screenplay, produced, directed, and starred in Burn.

The film opens with a woman's dead body, blood on her clothes, lying face down on a bed. A couple of guys are looking at the body, and then tells a third man, Mr. Pinero, that he shouldn't see this. Danny Blankenship plays Pinero, the mob boss. During the 1990's, Blankenship was in three different soap operas. He's expanded his resume since then.

After the film's opening credit things move on to an ariel shot of a small section of Los Angeles. The camera pulls back to reveal a guy at a fence, overlooking the city. That guy is Max, played by Lazzara. He gets a phone call from Seth, who needs to talk to him, but in person.

Then Max is in his car, driving down a road into the desert. He meets up with Seth, played by John Fava. Seth lets Max that there's a hit out on his brother. Why? Because the brother was hooking up with the wife of the wrong guy, Pinero. And somehow killed Pinero's wife. Seth gives Max two days to find his brother and get him away. If not, then Seth will have to go after the brother.

This sets up the rest of the film. Max tracks down his brother Vince played by Eric Stayberg. But how is Max going to convince Vince to go on the run and not get himself killed?

Through a series of flashbacks, we get the story of how Vince and Laurel, Pinero's wife, got together. Laurel was played by Dawn Barber, whose previous credits include the television series Destructo Box and the short film Get Cindy.

Other cast members include Jadi Stuart as Seth's girlfriend, Kristen Baranano as a bartender and Agostino Bommarito as Vince's friend Bobby.

The film bounces between flashbacks and the current day. As the story unfolds, you get the sense that there's a lot more going on than is on the surface. We learn that Vince wanted to be in the crime crew with Max, but somehow that didn't happen. But why wouldn't Max help his brother out? Was Vince not a good enough criminal to be in the crew, or was it something else?

Then it is revealed that Max knew Laurel, had acted as her driver one time and maybe there was something more than that going on? Going back and forth between timelines, the film shows exactly that, there was much more than Max driving Laurel around.

Burn was a decent film. As this is more of a noir than action film, there was a little bit of overt violence but it most of it was implied or being done out of camera range. There were several twists, a couple of them you could see coming but a couple of others came out of the blue. Vince is very jittery and remorseful over killing Laurel. He doesn't want to get killed but knows if he can't get away, that will probably happen. But is that the whole story? What does Max have going on that might change the narrative?

Eric Stayberg did a great job as Vince. John Fava also did a good job as the too cool for school hitman and mob boss underling, Seth. And Dawn Barber was terrific as Laurel, the bored wife looking for some excitement in men other than her husband. Patrick Lazzara provided an excellent performance as Max, who's understated demeaner hides some truths he doesn't want to get out.

If you are looking for a good noir film to check out this spring, then Burn should definitely be added to your list. Great acting and a solid storyline make this a decent film.

Burn is set to be released around April 1 st of 2022 on VOD and streaming platforms. You can learn more about the film at its Facebook page at

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© 2022 Bruce E Von Stiers