LFF Review: Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

In today’s world of gastropubs and artisanal gin bars, it’s easy to forget the role these establishments have played for hundreds of years of human history. The bar, pub, inn, tavern, whatever you want to call it, has served many purposes. They’ve been community hubs, places for friends to meet, meeting house for clubs and organisations and refuges for countless generations. Whilst the common denominator is alcohol, it’s also company and companionship.

In Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross’ new film, Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, they observe the last waltz of a dying species. Lurking in the darker recesses of the LA lights is the Roaring 20s. A dive bar with a loyal and thirsty regular clientele of waifs and strays. Both bar and customers have seen better days but it’s a home away from home for many. A place to escape a decaying society and set the world to rights. Their camera weaves itself into the fabric of the joint, capturing the narratives of the day as the doors are about to shut for the last time.

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is a tale of the end of an era, but one which uses smoke and mirrors at its heart. The camera becomes another patron, eavesdropping and partaking in this fraught hedonism. Whilst the narration may be unreliable, it’s an ingenious way of capturing a snapshot of a dying breed. It’s such a vibrant method of storytelling. Of affording the viewer the ability to see inside another world. One of stale cigarettes and faded dreams. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is a compelling portrait of a broken part of America, which will leave you breathless and half-cut.

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets screened at London Film Festival.

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