By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Stupid criminals. What are you going to do? Greed and desperation can be powerful motivators, but they can also seriously affect intelligence and judgment. These are the main themes that propel this tense and unnerving crime drama, and filmmakers Mikhael Bassilli and Luc Walpoth utilize them to c reate a movie that should have their audiences on the edge of their seats, biting their nails. Baby Money also hsuperbly employs a character that serves as the voice of reason and logic in Minny, an expectant mother who, with her baby’s father Gil (Michael Drayer), get mixed up in a home heist that goes terribly wrong.

At the beginning of the film, Minny discovers that she is pregnant with Gil’ s baby. Initially considering an abortion, she decides to keep the baby after hearing its heartbeat during her ultrasound. Gil, who is already mixed up with some shady characters, agrees to pull off a heist in a suburban neighborhood, in an attempt at procurring some unknown contents from the house’s safe. Gil and his associates manage to break into the house with little trouble, but things soon go completely south when one of the members of the household chooses to defend the home.

Written by Bassilli and MJ Palo, Baby Money delivers incredible drama and tension, but does feel like it drags on a little too long. The main setting that takes place in a home where the assailants are hiding often unfolds much like a stressful play, heavily relying on dialogue and performances by the actors whose characters are caught up in a nearly unbearable situation they have created for themselves. The acting by the cast follow suit quite well and adds to the high tension of the events.

The main star of the film is most definitely Danay Garcia, whose potent turn as Minny, a very street smart woman who obviously does not deserve to be in this unbearable situation. As her well-meaning, but inept boyfriend Gil, Michael Drayer performs superbly as a desperate man obviously out of his element. As the more malicious assailant Dom, Joey Kern gives a perfectly spiteful and venomous turn. Also exceptional in this film is Taja V. Simpson, a hard working nurse whose home has been unfortunately raided by the assailants who are seeking shelter an medical attention after their heist has turned violent. I must also give praise to actor Vernon Taylor III, who portrays the cerebral palsy afflicted son of Taja V. Simpson’s character. Taylor, who actually has cerebral palsy, gives an extraordinary performance as a disabled adult coping with the shocking events in his home.

This impressive thriller kicked of my very first Fantasia Film Festival and is certainly a movie I will not forget. It is a film I hope will reach many audiences, as I feel it is worthy of much attention and love.

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