A decently sustained performance by Billy Burke can't breathe much life into "Forfeit," an overworked thriller that's all setup and little payoff.

A decently sustained performance by Billy Burke can’t breathe much life into “Forfeit,” an overworked revenge thriller that’s all setup and little payoff. Clever but unconvincing tale follows a man whose sinister motives and often inexplicable behavior are only gradually illuminated, though auds probably won’t find the revelations worth the trouble. Limited theatrical play will precede a quick trip to homevid.

Egged on by a raving televangelist (“24’s” Gregory Itzin, very good) who may be a figment of his imagination, Frank (Burke) — or is it Francis? — tries to patch things up with his ex (Sherry Stringfield) while working for a very shady armored-car company. Pic amounts to a parade of under-motivated confrontations, as the self-righteous Frank butts heads with (and schemes against) everyone from his roommate to his sleazy employers; Burke leavens the bile with sly humor, but he’s not playing a tortured soul so much as a belligerent cipher. Helmer Andrew Brendan Shea (“The Corndog Man”) can’t shape these undisciplined scenes into a tense, urgent narrative, though at 84 minutes, “Forfeit” doesn’t overstay its welcome. Shot and set in Los Angeles, low-budgeter boasts solid tech credits.

Forfeit

Production

A Corndog Prods. release and presentation of a Doradel Pictures production. Produced by Andrew Brendan Shea, John Rafter Lee, Carol Ann Shine, Sherri James. Directed by Andrew Brendan Shea. Screenplay, John Rafter Lee.

Crew

Camera (FotoKem color), Roberto Blasini; editor, Melissa Shea; music, Andrew Gross; production designer, Paul L. Jackson; art director, Kristie Thompson; costume designer, Michele K. Short. Reviewed on DVD, Glendale, Calif., Nov. 25, 2007. (In SXSW, Brooklyn film festivals.) Running time: 84 MIN.

With

Billy Burke, Sherry Stringfield, John Aylward, Gregory Itzin, Phil Reeves, Kirk Baltz, Robert Rusler, Lee Garlington, Chris McKenna, Steven Williams, Wayne Knight.

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