By Don Simpson | March 26, 2015
Director: Dave Boyle
Writers: Dave Boyle, Joel Clark, Michael Lerman
Starring: Ayako Fujitani, Pepe Serna, Kazuki Kitamura, Hiroshi Watanabe, Elisha Skorman, Tetsuo Kuramochi, Derrick O’Connor, Yasuyo Shiba
Sheriff Paul Del Moral (Pepe Serna) discovers a mysterious vehicle abandoned in the noirishly dense fog of a rural road; soon thereafter, the small town sheriff’s vehicle rams into a mysterious Japanese man (Hiroshi Watanabe), who eventually disappears from the hospital before being identified or questioned. The mystery does not end there, as a world famous Japanese mystery author, Aki Akahori (Ayako Fujitani), stumbles upon her own mysterious Japanese man (Kazuki Kitamura). It seems highly probable that these two apparently unrelated plots might eventually coincide, and noirish logic does eventually prevail…
But despite the relentless barrage of plot twists and unanticipated relationships, Dave Boyle’s Man From Reno surprisingly never feels all that contrived. Mysterious characters enter the narrative as suddenly as they disappear, but it all seems perfectly natural. Perhaps that is because we expect nothing less from a modern film noir, or maybe it is due to Boyle’s masterful control over the narrative; either way, Man From Reno unravels in a perfectly natural way.
A mystery writer immersed in the middle of a “real/reel-life” mystery is not necessarily a new plot device, but it might seem a bit more novel in the context of the convergence of Japanese and San Franciscan cultures. Boyle’s integration of Japanese culture into the noirish environment of San Francisco is what makes Man From Reno so unique.