More or less a one-man production, “How It All Went Down” was written, produced, and edited by Silvio Pollio, who also stars. Story of a reformed Vancouver drug dealer forced to return to his old illegal ways in order to finance his filmmaking ambitions is allegedly based on the real-life exploits of Carmine “Istante” Cavelli — whereabouts now unknown. While the film may serve as a calling card for Pollio as an actor, commercial prospects, other than a video release, seem dim to nonexistent.
Early on, we see a few very bad moments from Cavelli’s dream project (apparently recreations, since they are credited to Pollio, not Cavelli), and we have to wonder whether Pollio expects them to wow the audience. Certainly, Pollio may be intentionally ironic here, since the rest of “How It All Went Down,” while nothing special is much better than those excerpts.
Story is a mishmash of elements from Scorsese and De Palma, mostly “Mean Streets,” “Scarface,” and “GoodFellas,” without the stylistic sophistication to take them anywhere new or keep them free of mawkish melodrama. Cavelli, once back on the street and dealing, becomes so wrapped up in his new life he loses track of his original goals; and, once he starts sampling his own wares, things get much worse.
Tech work is spotty, but adequate, with some substandard sound recording.