Neo-noir thriller long on style but short on originality, “Emmett’s Mark” exudes the wintry desolation of James Gray’s films minus the depth of character. Helmer-scribe Keith Snyder’s debut feature is as competent as any direct-to-vid feature, and it screams out to be taken seriously. Still, it’s hard to tell how this somnambulant trifle will attract much interest, other than as a calling card.
Pic tells of a Philadelphia detective (Scott Wolf) who’s been diagnosed with one of those fatal movie diseases and been given a few pain-saturated weeks to live. An encounter with a stranger (Gabriel Byrne) in a bar leads to an offer: The stranger knows a guy who’d be willing to put the detective out of his misery, for a price. Predictable complications ensue. That the hired hitman happens to be played by the inimitable Tim Roth is pic’s only real pleasure. Underplaying, with a lot more personality than this generic affair deserves, Roth seems bemused at what’s going on around him and gives pic a shot in the arm whenever he’s onscreen.