No doubt you have seen many movies about a convict on parole trying to go “straight”. They usually are linear and without any artistic creativity.
Well ”The Five Rules of Success” is not one of those Turner Classic Movies that are entirely linear but nonetheless interesting.
This film takes the genre into a whole different realm with artistic cinematography, cutting philosophical insights that takes one into what one might call an artsy film while artsy should not be taken as alienating to viewers.
X (Santiago Segura) is a con on parole determined to make a success of his newfound freedom. He is full of philosophical insights that seem Buddhist or Daoist and is an intellectual cut above the “usual con” out on parole.
What are his five rules of success?
- Aim High and Be Delusional
- Block All Negativity
- Manifest Goals Into Reality
- Prioritize Mental and Physical Health
- Never rely on Anything and Always Push for More
X adheres to these rules but sadly ends up a casualty. In his drive to open up a restaurant he needs cash which only criminality can provide in short order.
He starts at the bottom as Mr. Avakian (Jon Sklaroff), the owner of a Greek restaurant, gives him a break starting him off as a deliveryman and then a waiter. But Avakian’s son Danny is a wastrel, dope fiend and petty criminal who lures X into a few cash rich jobs to meet X’s desire to open his own restaurant.
X needs one more job to obtain the cash to open his restaurant and it is a nasty one but he gets the dough and opens a restaurant where the guests are treated as prison inmates and served slop by heavily tattooed and surly ex-cons. Only in Los Angeles!
X has tried to follow his rules and does indeed reach his dream of opening a restaurant despite a psychotic parole officer and a decadent off the rails Danny but his demise is all the more tragic because of it. As X says in the joint there are rules of conduct but in society there are none.
What might captivate you are the great cinematographic techniques of graininess, speed ups, blurriness, dream like sequences, comic book allegories and colourful L.A. backdrops. It is a combination of H &R Crumb and “Blade Runner”.
It is also a study on what an abusive childhood can turn a man into through no fault of his own.
Although thoroughly modern one wonders if this is a Shakespearean ending.
The film certainly improves on a second viewing.
“The Five Rules of Success” opened on Amazon and ITunes on July 30.
You can see the trailer here https://ambassadorfilmgroup.com/the-five-rules-of-success
The 83-minute film is written and directed by Orson Oblowitz.