In a 1950s New Jersey setting, Reichert creates neo-noir film, Union City, following the tumultuous relationship between Harlan (Dennis Lipscombe) and Lillian (Debbie Harry). Harlan’s unhealthy obsession with finding out who is stealing his milk drives a barrier between him and his partner. As he investigates, he soon finds and murders a homeless veteran impulsively, during a bout of frustration and anger. With instant feelings of remorse, Harlan hides the body behind a folding bed in the uninhabited apartment opposite his own. All the while, because of Harlan’s tormented preoccupation, Lillian is further driven into the arms of a loving stranger, Larry Longacre (Everett McGill).
Harlan’s irrational behaviour continues as he becomes increasingly paranoid about the revelations of his crime. This is only heightened when the apartment goes on sale, and several tenants come to view it.
The crime drama is said to mirror the narrative of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart (1843). The intense feeling of regret and paranoia create a battle for sanity for both Poe’s unnamed protagonist and Harlan. The motif of beating floor boards in Poe’s work is paralleled with the metaphoric beating suspense that ensues as more and more people visit the apartment, under Harlan’s watch, to which he tries to dissuade with his peculiar behaviour.
Most scenes in the film meticulously obey a strict colour pallet, one which adds to the hostile and frustrating undertone to the entire picture.
director MARCUS REICHERT
director of photography EDWARD LACHMAN
cast DEBBIE HARRY, DENNIS LIPSCOMB, IRINA MALEEVA, EVERETT MCGILL and SAM MCMURRAY
words PRIYESH PATEL