I Shot a Man in Vegas

Visit actor David Cubitt’s stills and clips page

Man in Vegas: A Dramatic Surprise


Friday October 18, 1996

Writer-director Keoni Waxman’s nifty “I Shot a Man in Vegas” is one of those little low-budget pictures that seem to come out of nowhere. Many are better left in obscurity, but this taut psychological drama packs one surprise after another. Storytelling with a camera seems to come naturally for Waxman, who matches an easy visual flair with an equally effective way with actors and dialogue.

Before the credits have finished unrolling, a young man, Johnny 
(David Cubitt), lies in a Las Vegas alley, shot dead, after a scuffle with his friend Grant (John Stockwell). Along with Grant’s girlfriend Gale (Janeane Garofolo) and another couple, Martin (Brian Drillinger) and Amy (Noelle Lippman), Grant and Johnny had been partying in a nearby bar. All five seem aimless types, with some of them more than a little shady, but none has the demeanor of uneducated lowlifes or hardened criminals.

The four survivors now find themselves in Grant’s gleaming 1956 Oldsmobile with a corpse in the trunk. Not only do they have different views on the shooting, but also about what to do next, as they head for L.A. because no one can think of anything better to do. The shooting death seems essentially simple, despite its terrible, confusing swiftness. But it gradually proves to be anything but that, as these four very scared young people begin to reveal themselves and their relationships with one another.

Waxman has chosen well his cameraman Steven Finestone, endlessly resourceful and dynamic yet fluid, and his composer Shark, whose spare, mood-setting score is superior to many in far more expensive movies. Since the film (which was shot in 1993 but bears a 1995 copyright date), Garofolo has become a big name, yet as good as she is, as the most levelheaded of the group, she blends into a highly effective ensemble. “I Shot a Man in Vegas” is all the more gratifying for having arrived a completely unknown quantity.

Lakeshore Entertainment/Arrow Releasing

Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes