Jimmy (Lew Temple) has found himself in a heap of trouble. He’s never been a “good guy”, but this time he might have gone too far. What started out as a simple petty robbery turned into murder, and he’s about to have to defend himself. Only, as Jimmy is about to learn, he isn’t just defending his actions… he’s defending his life.
Jimmy died shortly after he killed that shopkeeper (played by the legendary Veronica Cartwright). He’s now in limbo – purgatory – with an angel, Cassiel (Scottie Thompson) as his defense, and a demon, Balthazar (Lucian Charles Collier) preparing to make the final judgment. This hearing, held in a tiny, dingy little room of limbo, will decide if Jimmy gets to go to heaven, or hell. They’re joined by stenographer Phil (Richard Riehle), a jolly, jovial demon who doesn’t seem to quite fit in with the very serious angels and demons around him. Step by step, life event by life event, Jimmy, Cassiel, and Balthazar recount the tragedies and triumphs of Jimmy’s life – one example is his deadbeat father, who Cassiel counts as a credit to Jimmy’s Good Side – a classic “nature vs nurture” argument. The shopkeeper, Louise, is brought in to speak her case against Jimmy (and towards his eternal damnation). Blow by blow, our angelic legal team hashes out every facet of Jimmy’s life, taking pause in the story of a girl, Angela (Lauryn Canny) that Jimmy seems to have a soft spot for. Will Angela’s story be enough to bring Jimmy’s redemption?
LIMBO is the unholy love child of Defending Your Life and Good Omens. The sibling rivalry of angels and demons provides a perfectly silly and frustrating backdrop to poor Jimmy’s court case – as he tries desperately to make sense of what’s happening to him. Other demons pop their heads in along the way – including Belial, Balthazar’s higher up, played by House’s Peter Jacobson. There’s a brilliant, almost True Blood-esque demon nightclub/bar scene, filled with all kind of otherworldly (and underworldly) wonders. The atmosphere of LIMBO is somewhere between Vegas and Being John Malkovich – it may be an office setting, and they may be holding a hearing, but things are just a little off-kilter.
One of the more successful aspects of LIMBO is its timelessness. While there are characters existing in what we assume is the “modern age”, their clothing, hair and makeup, and even the world they live in is sort of a mash-up of times and places – which adds to the believability. At no point is there any heavy reference made to modern time or past time – besides the long ago past – Nero, for example. There’s no reason to crossover between “real life” and the purgatory world. It was a thrill to suspend my disbelief for an hour and a half and exist in a space between – in my own filmic purgatory.
Every member of this cast gave their all to bringing this concept to life. Lew Temple gives a complex performance – in moments stoic and unsympathetic, and moments later heartwrenching, raw, and real. He soars in particular in the scenes where Jimmy is faced with the memories of his parents – a huge piece of who Jimmy is, and how he became the way he is. His emotion bubbles just under the surface and keeps us on our toes as we wait for him to boil over. Thompson and Collier as our angel and demon, respectively, have a delicious banter and rivalry that rivals anything you’d see from an Aaron Sorkin script. Every secondary character seems fleshed out and multidimensional – with the exception I’d say only of the pimp character, Frank (Chad Lindberg) who is suitably slimy, in a one dimensional way. Even Angela, who is our classic “hooker with a heart of gold” trope, has more to her than that, and the relationship between her and Jimmy has real, palpable chemistry.
LIMBO takes a few moments to settle into itself, but once it does, you’ll settle right in too. This is a story worth hearing, told beautifully, and with just enough levity along the way. If you’ve ever wondered what “Judgment Day” might look like, look no further than LIMBO.
|Runtime:||1 hr 23Mins.|