Review: 'Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets' a Revealing Documentary/Feature Hybrid

by Sam Cohen

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday November 10, 2020

Review: 'Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets' a Revealing Documentary/Feature Hybrid

There's a certain charm to local dive bars, like the overwhelming barrage of stimuli from the jukebox and town drunkards. "Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets" captures that unique atmosphere and brings it far past standard ASMR by deftly cutting between the colorful cast of characters drifting in and out of a Las Vegas dive on its last night before closing forever. Even when the film finds risks in the local patrons tending to overperform on camera, filmmakers Bill and Turner Ross discover a kind of melancholy beauty betwixt the slurred exhortations and alcoholic self-immolation. It has never been more comforting to see people get annihilated, and moments like these feel revelatory in the current state of COVID quarantine.

Utopia, an independent company working on improving the direct-to-consumer experience in entertainment, has partnered with OCN Distribution (Vinegar Syndrome's sister company) to bring "Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets" to Blu-ray, with an array of special features to enjoy. For a film that luxuriates in the seedy textures of a dirty dive bar, it's pleasing to see similar care taken in the home video presentation. If this is any indication of how Utopia will be releasing their projects in the future, then we may be in store for some incredible gems to enjoy at home.

On the eve of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a colorful cast of characters gathers at the Roaring 20s, a bar celebrating its final day of business. As the film moves from day to night and back to day, the patrons slowly move into a kind of dissociative state. Their worries no longer exist when within the confines of the bar, or at least don't for a little while.

So, here's the thing: "Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets" actually takes place at a bar in New Orleans with a handpicked cast of people culled from a dozen casting sessions. But the construction behind the scenes doesn't hamper what ends up on the screen. Rather, it emboldens the proceedings, as these "characters" give themselves willingly to the deep recesses of the personal emotions that are unearthed by drinking. And yet, the film doesn't judge them for being who they are. We're all just getting by in the only ways we know how.

"Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets" awaits the end of things and watches a close-knit group of people be each other's greatest friends and enemies. It all adds up to something beguiling and features wall-to-wall quotes that will stick with you for long after the credits roll. There's also a terrific featurette titled "After Hours" on the Blu-ray that involves the Ross brothers reflecting on their film and talking with the cast members over video chat. It's really fun and enriching to see how this hybrid doc impacted everyone involved. This release comes highly recommended.

Other special features include:

• Official trailer

• Ross Brothers teaser trailer

• Las Vegas

• Security camera

• Reversible cover

"Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets" is now available on Blu-ray from Utopia.