‘Max Anderson, Private Eye’ finds balance between crime, comedy


Max Anderson, Private Eye (2013)

Directed by Michael DeSanto

5/10  NR

Recently, I got to watch Toledo-based director/writer/producer/cinematographer Michael DeSanto’s crime-comedy, “Max Anderson, Private Eye,” which is currently making the film festival rounds. Shot with one $99 camera and a cast of first-time actors (and with a budget of less than $3,000), DeSanto’s first feature production might look like the work of an amateur, but beneath its low-budget production value is a load of comedic potential.

When dopey 26-year-old do-nothing Max Anderson (Charles Wetzel, Jr.) is dumped by his girlfriend (Brittney Forster), his only option is to take control of his life to try to win her back. A lazy day at home watching noir movies becomes his inspiration, and he decides to become a small-time private investigator. After taking a few small cases, Max gets into some trouble with the mob, who fears Max’s business interferes with their own. In this twisted crime comedy, a modern-day Dick Tracy will solve the crime of his life…or death. The stakes are high, but the hilarity is higher.


Intermittently shot in black and white, “Max Anderson, Private Eye” is a modern-day satire of the classic film noir standard. Max coughs when he tries smoking to look cool, and his suit and trench coat are mocked by his lazy friends (including the delightful Joe Morsher as Max’s friend Chris). DeSanto’s script is full of dark humor, but it’s also brimming with suspense. When the suspense reaches its climax, “Max Anderson, Private Eye” becomes a fast-paced thriller full of gun fights and getaways.

“Max Anderson, Private Eye” is full of unexpected surprises, its quality as a first-time crack at filmmaking not the least of them. For more information on DeSanto’s feature, visit http://www.maxanderson.badatom.com/.

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