Review: Messy 'Phantom Halo' wallows in the mediocre

Tom Long
The Detroit News

A messy noir crime story that's a jumble of ridiculous plotlines staggering to an inevitably violent conclusion, "Phantom Halo" shows there are still people in Hollywood drunk on Quentin Tarantino's exhaust fumes.

Meet Warren Emerson (Sebastian Roche), onetime Shakespearean actor, current alcoholic and deep-in-debt gambler. He lives off the efforts of his two sons. The younger one, Samuel (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), does street performances of Shakespeare, while the older, Beckett (Luke Kleintank), picks the pockets of Samuel's audience.

At the end of the day, they take their ill-gotten gains home, where their father inevitably steals them for booze. What he should be using the money for is to pay off his $38,000 debt to a gangster who is now threatening Beckett, but the whiskey is too appealing.

Somehow, Beckett reconnects with his old friend Larry (Jordan Dunn), who just happens to be a master counterfeiter. For no apparent reason, Larry invites Beckett to be his business partner. Soon they're churning out fake Benjamins and driving around in a Bentley (because that's inconspicuous).

In a development that's wholly unrelated to anything, Beckett also connects with Larry's stupendously beautiful mother (Rebecca Romijn), even though Larry is oblivious to the relationship. Oh, well, at least it introduces a female character to the film.

And then there's the Phantom Halo, a comic Samuel is obsessed with. And the Korean girl who chops off Samuel's finger. And another gangster named Smashmouth (Tobin Bell) who enters the picture late just to bring things to a boil.

None of it is convincing in the least, although the actors do as much as they can. "Phantom Halo" ends up feeling like a mash-up of two many other mediocre films.

'Phantom Halo'


Rated R for violence, language and brief sexuality

Running time: 87 minutes