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After meeting in a singles bar, Tom (Scott Speedman) seduces Dan (James Marsden) back to his apartment for a night of 'casual' acquaintance. During their verbal foreplay Tom divulges that the two have met before, sharing a drunken tryst almost five years ago in the very apartment in which they again find themselves. Unable to ascertain the truth about that distant evening, the two quarrel and Dan is attacked and imprisoned. As the accusations fly, Tom reveals that his night with Dan was his only gay encounter and that recently he had been diagnosed with HIV. Now, with Dan at his mercy, Tom pushes for the truth about Dan's life and sexual habits and, after taking a sample of Dan's blood to test for the virus, threatens to kill him if it is proven that Dan has indeed infected him. But what other secrets do these two men keep?

Review by Craig Miller:
Adapted for the screen from his own stage play, Tony Piccirillo's directorial debut is a look into a world that is rarely explored in film. Showing a level of maturity often missing in a first-time filmmaker, Piccirillo runs with a thousand themes in The 24th Day and, surprisingly, his mostly smart dialogue and strong faith in character really help it succeed.

The film's focus on truth and revenge in a world of sexual ambiguity is classily handled, and Piccirillo uses the strong themes to plant his audience right in the thick of the action. The ideas about personal relationships and the subjective nature of truth give the viewer plenty to think about, with the subject matter and the performers the true stars of this production.

The questions Piccorillo raises (What is truth? What is our social responsibility? etc) are deliberately and aggressively put across, but it's to provoke a situational response and, in this respect, they are quite effective. He does get a little preachy about the nature of society and the general public views on the gay community and sexual experimentation, but mostly he handles the major themes with tastefulness and thought-provoking in mind.

Most of the film's action takes place in Tom's apartment, but occasionally we are jolted out of this reality into some cold flash-back sequences that tell the truth and reveal the pain of the behind-the-scenes story. These sequences are washed-out, a mixture of mottled blues and greys, which really highlight the cold hard light of day and the truth of the characters' situation. It's terribly effective and champagne use of technique on a beer budget.

As is often the case, fortune favours the brave, and both Scott Speedman from TV's Felicity and X-Men star James Marsden, as the film's two antagonists, bring real humanity to this captive/captor drama, delivering fine performances. Although at times they are asked to deliver some questionable dialogue, including some rather cringe-worthy conversations about 1970s TV cop shows and Star Wars, they both succeed in portraying interesting yet damaged characters at the crossroads in life.

Transcending the low budget/art house genre and its poor production value look, Tony Piccirillo's The 24th Day is a provocative, tight little thriller which takes an interesting look at life at its most brutal... and most brittle.

Published April 21, 2005

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(US, 2004)

CAST: James Marsden, Scott Speedman, Sofia Vergara, Barry Papick, Charlie Corrado, Jarvis W. George

DIRECTOR: Tony Piccirillo

SCRIPT: Tony Piccirillo

RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen 1.85:1, Dolby Digital 5.1

SPECIAL FEATURES: Talent profiles and trailers.

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: MRA entertainment

DVD RELEASE: April 27, 2005

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