I woke up at 2:30 AM. Peg was sound asleep. I turned on the TV and turned off the audio. Closed Captioning is always on. Earlier in the evening I had seen a film title that looked interesting: The Landline Detective. As it turned out, it is.
Father and grandfather Jimmy has been taxed with looking over and re-arranging family photos. Jimmy is the only person we see in the entire film. Dann Seki plays Jimmy. Seki is believable and likable. Jimmy is not electronically gifted. He only uses a landline telephone that re-charges as it collects and plays back messages. We either hear messages or complete conversations by fourteen different people from a policeman to Jimmy’s granddaughter.
The whole movie revolves around a thirty-five-year-old Polaroid photo with a date stamp on it. The photo was taken the day before Jimmy’s sister-in-law was strangled. In the photo is an automobile parked where is shouldn’t be. It was Jimmy’s old car he had sold to his brother-in-law. The brother-in-law was supposed to be away on a fishing trip with a friend. The murderer was never found.
Most of the entire film is a head-on shot of Jimmy on the phone calling people or answering incoming calls. Boring right? No. It’s like you’re just sitting at the other end of the table and almost part of the action. The film was written and directed by Eric Nemoto. All of the action takes place in Hawaii, which just happens to be where Eric grew up and lives. I feel connected to Eric. He graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He got his masters’ degree from Oregon State University (College Student Services Administration) in Corvallis, Oregon, where my favorite son-in-law graduated. Eric has a screenwriting certificate from the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program (the largest writer training center of its kind in the U.S.). Eric founded, and is the president of, “TAG – The Actors’ Group,” a community theater. (I’m a past board member of TAG (Tacoma Actors Guild). Work with me on this.)
Eric has also written 12 produced plays, directed eight stage plays, and directed eight movies. In this time of COVID, I think “The Landline Detective” would make a very effective stage production. With only one character on-stage the play could be a powerful production at any one of our local theatres from Olympia to Seattle, except perhaps Tacoma Musical Playhouse.
I am anxious to see Eric’s other film: “So Close Shig.” “A widower’s grief masks his anxiety of wanting to kill the last of the 20 men who had slept with his wife, culminating an odyssey that began with his first murder – his wife – 20 years before.” Dann Seki plays Shig.
For the official trailer of The Landline Detective visit – imdb.com/video/vi1874444569
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.