The Red Maple Leaf (2016)

Starring: Frank D'Angelo, Tony Nardi, James Caan, Eric Roberts, Kris Kristofferson, Martin Landau, Mira Sorvino, Paul Sorvino, Armand Assante, Robert Loggia, Doris Roberts, Daniel Baldwin, Margot Kidder, Michael Pare, Laurie Fortier, Jerry Caringi

Director: Frank D'Angelo

Run time: 132 mins

Rating: Five stars 

THIS is the fifth feature film outing from Italian-Canadian filmmaker, Frank D'Angelo, and is as compelling to watch as his other forays into the world of dramatic thrillers.

Right from the start of The Red Maple Leaf, the audience is drawn into the haunting, vulnerable and slightly miserable world of Special Agent Alfonso Palermo (played with incredible depth by D'Angelo) and his quest to solve a missing persons case. 

The plot is fairly straightforward: On a seemingly worry-free Ottawa morning, young Jenni Adams, daughter of US Ambassador Patrick Adams, is snatched from right under the nose of her Secret Service detail.

The blatant act has left the American authorities searching for answers with powerful pressure coming at them from every side. From senators all the way up to the President of the United States, the hunt is on to find this girl alive and return her to her family.

This movie may seem like a run-of-the-mill thriller involving rival law enforcement agencies, but it's anything but. 

D'Angelo weaves a tapestry of self-torment for Palermo - his inner-demons are at the heart of this movie, and without giving too many spoilers away- play a pivotal role in his quest for the missing girl.

Never has a movie captured so much acting royalty and delivered with such force. Everyone is a scene-stealer, simply because each scene they are in is cinematic gold. 

This has to be a contender for the best ensemble cast ever presented in a motion picture of the modern-era.

It is reminiscent of the golden age of cinema - I'm reluctant to say Hollywood, as many a fine movie came from smaller, independent studios scattered across the globe - when actors would clamour for any amount of screen time just to be connected with a great movie. 

Refreshingly, D'Angelo's directing style is entirely unique and compelling to follow as he allows the actors to inhabit their characters, creating a rare organic feel to the entire movie. 

There's some great subtle humour too and a soundtrack - courtesy of D'Angelo himself, an accomplished vocalist with a voice as smooth as mloasses and a baseline that works in harmony with the action on screen.

A must-see movie.

The Red Maple Leaf is available On Demand at iTunes, Google Play Store, Amazon and on the In Your Ears Productions website HERE.