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     Some of the most creative fiction films made in Boston in the 90s, shorts and the feature, Squeeze, resulted from the intense collaboration of director Robert Patton-Spruill and his inventive cinematographer, Richard Moos.

     Moos now has his own first feature, Orphan, a low-budget work of visual sophistication and resourcefulness and with first-rate performances from a large ensemble including several of Boston's best-known actors: Karen MacDonald as a call-in psychic, Sandi Carroll as an estranged wife. Robert Wahlberg, older brother of Markey Mark, is not bad as a Southie toughie with an occasional soft side. But the great acting revelation is Irishman Marty Maguire in the lead as Jake McCrory, a babyfaced career hit man. Jake becomes an instant good guy when, floating away himself toward his own death, he finds himself in some sort of purgatorial apartment where he's lectured to by the man he's just murdered: take care of my orphaned daugher. That Jake does when he returns to earth, becoming a kind of guardian angel to redheaded Anna, from her age ten to twenty. His wife leaves him: she can't understand why he's always away from home, and suspects infidelity. But Jake is just watching out for Anna. Orphan bogs down at times because of excessive, self-conscious talkiness, especially in the interminable penultimate scene. But there are so many virtues that the tedious stretches are forgiven: Richard Moos is definitely a Boston filmmaker to watch.

(May, 2000)


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