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The Departure

USA 2020
produced by
Merland Hoxha
directed by Merland Hoxha
starring Grant Wright Gunderson, Kendall Chappell, Austin Lauer, Olivia Lemmon, Jon Briddell
written by Merland Hoxha

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

To buy, click on link(s) below and help keep this site afloat

Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!

Nate (Grant Wright Gunderson) gets a nice promotion and a new assignment that excites him very much, so things couldn't be better - well, if it wasn't that his assignment would force him to move to New York for half a year, now that he has just persuaded his girlfriend Jessica (Kendall Chappell) to move in with him. To his surprise, Jessica takes the news better than expected - which makes Nate suspicious that she might have (or plan to have) an affair, maybe with the colleague of hers she's constantly talking about. So to test her loyalty, he asks his best friend John (Austin Lauer), who's also good friends with Jessica, to try to seduce her. At first, John thinks it's a stupid idea, but it's really anything for a friend, so the two go to a bar, get pretty drunk, John offers Jessica to crash at his because she's too drunk to drive, they have a nightcap, talk ... and eventually kiss and have sex. When John tells Nate, that leaves him heartbroken at first - but soon he comes up with a scheme to make her pay that involves going on as if nothing has happened until she breaks and confesses, and then break up with her. There's one thing though, when only seducing her as a favour to his friend, John has fallen in love with Jessica for real, and she cares about him more and more as well ...


In its very own way, The Departure is a very mean love story, and one with no real winners - which is one reason why this film rings rather true. The other is that despite the rather far-fetched concept, the story is made palpable by characters that are relatable because of their flaws, and who mess up in ways that we actually might as well - after all, who hasn't felt unreasonable jealousy or made stupid mistakes when drunk at least once in life? But the film really comes together thanks to down-to-earth performances and a directorial effort that keeps things low-key and intimate, all resulting in a pretty fine, if mean, romance.


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD