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Indy Film Fest: Captain Black

by on April 27, 2018
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For Indy Film Fest showtimes or to buy tickets, please click here.

Blending humor and drama is a tough task. A filmmaker runs the risk of both falling short producing a bland mix of each, but Jeffrey S.S. Johnson found the sweat spot that most strive for, yet few achieve in his debut feature “Captain Black.”

Mike (Johnson) is the manager of a run of the mill chain restaurant. Nothing flashy, nothing special.  He’s the typical everyman working in a normal job, has a small apartment and a cat. Again, nothing flashy, nothing special. His social circle consists of his co-workers, all who are much younger, and an abused young mother and her child who live next door. While content with his life something is missing and he finds it one night when his co-worker Junior (Joaquin Camilo) leaves his bag behind at work and inside Mike find a collection of Captain Black comics.

Mike quickly devours the comics and in the process becomes obsessed with the masked crime fighter, even adopting his creed as his personal motto “Be Your Own Ally.” Mike also develops a fondness for the heroine of the comics Kitt Vixxen. He sees his chance to break from his normal life when he’s invited to a Halloween party by his co-workers.

He shows up dressed as Captain Black and during the course of the evening while mingling with fellow partygoers, he encounters a beautiful young woman dressed as – you guessed it – Kitt Vixxen. The two quickly hit it off and Mike is able to live out his fantasy of being with the scantily clad super heroine. But as quickly as she comes into his life, his mystery woman disappears into the night with Mike not knowing her name or if he’ll ever see her again. The only thing he knows about her is she has a small heart tattoo behind her ear.

A few nights later as Mike and his co-workers sing happy birthday to another nameless family in the restaurant, Mike notices the young woman at the table bares the same small heart tattoo as his mystery lady. The birthday girl and his Kitt Vixxen are one in the same. Mike’s dream rapidly twists into his worst nightmare when he discovers his sultry superheroine’s real name is Maria (Georgia Norman) and that she’s celebrating her 17th birthday.

Things quickly spiral downward as Mike tries to balance his work life, a strained relationship with his estranged sister and the reality of his actions and their consequences. Along the way Mike confesses his sins to his co-worker Kris (Linara Washington), his sister Brie (Kirsten Roeters) and his deceased parents after learning another truth that threatens to brings his entire world crumbling to the ground.

“Captain Black” is a rare example of an almost perfect blend of comedy and drama. I found myself laughing out loud more than once and holding my breath when the tension rose to a breaking point. In addition to lead acting duties, Johnson wrote, directed and produced the film and created a solid first feature film.

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