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5th June 2020

To Leave On Your Own Terms

I’ve always found the notion that suicide is illegal (in the UK, unsure around the world) a strange thing. As if, at the point you have decided to take your own life, you suddenly stop because you realise you are going to be breaking the law?

Riviera takes a slightly left-field approach on the subject as David, Robert LaSardo (“The Mule”, “Death Race”), can’t kill himself, not to get the outcome he wants at least.

You see, David is a dying man, walking around with tubes and cannisters. He leaves his partner Thea, Sheryl Carbonell (“Thunder”, “The Hunter’s Circle”), and takes a drive with his friend Raffi, Jayvo Scott (“Good Girls (TV)”, “The Drifter”).

They drive cross country in their old Riviera, Raffi having received some recent sad news himself about the passing of his mother, you presume that’s where the two men are headed.

But that’s not the case. Instead, David and Raffi have hatched a plan, a plan that will let David leave this Earth on his terms, a way to ensure Thea receives the insurance money he has and that she, or anyone else, won’t see him suffer.

This is a big ask, can Raffi go through with it? Will the plan work?

Director and co-writer Jason Fragale and co-writer Christopher Fragale (“Date Night (Short)”, “Simone (Short)”) have created something intriguing in Riviera.

It’s a hard subject to put on film and they handle the subject well, electing to shoot the whole thing in black and white, utilising flashbacks and giving the two characters time to reminisce all adds to the build up of what’s about to happen.

The plan versus what actually does happen, or course, are very different and the outcome is somewhat timely given what’s going on in America right now which gives Riviera even more meaning.

Raffi, still plagued by grief from his mother's death, has his friendship tested by terminally ill David, who begs for help during his dying days

Jason Fragale

Jason Fragale, Christopher Fragale

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