Actor Johnny Solo gave a breakout performance as horse track race swindling, easy livin’ Gino in new comedy film, 79 Parts: Director’s Cut.
The following article contains minor spoilers for 79 Parts: Director’s Cut.
Every once in a while an actor catches your attention by playing a character that feels so true to life, it’s like a person you’ve already met. Johnny Solo’s performance in 79 Parts: Director’s Cut harkens back to raw, old school humor, the type you’d see in a 70s-era Israeli Bourekas film or even Jackie Chan’s 1978 picture, Drunken Master. The lovable, sort of lazy, creative hustler always looking to pull a quick ‘combina’ (fast one) instead of working. It’s a universal formula, we all know someone like this at some point of our lives… Yet, we can’t help but befriend them. For all his trouble, Gino spells excitement and opportunity in lead character Jack Anderson’s [Ryan O’Callaghan] life.
Sure Gino’s methods are gray area, usually less on the legal side but his confidence throughout the film is infectious. Simply put, you want to believe, and sometimes the quarter comes up Tails in life like he promised. Early on in the film, Gino’s pal Jack lets it slip that the race Gino bet on (and won) was fixed, leading to a viewer comforting chase scene by the other gamblers.
Comfortable in the sense that you can just turn your mind off and enjoy, no lengthy metaphors and allegories to ponder. The late night comfort food of cinema if you will. The appetizing chase instantly attracts curious onlookers, gazing over what you’re watching on the tube. The type to ask for just one fry but end up staying for the whole movie.
Johnny Solo’s character is defined by his body language and physicality. Mildly reminiscent of Seinfeld’s Kramer in the way he physically embraces those closest to him, arm on the shoulder and such… And has absolutely zero inhibition! He goes to the track with an obvious fake beard in tow, has no qualms about wearing risqué, silly clothing, or pilfering a stand for it. Gino is as gritty as can be and direct about his ‘me first’, often self-centered behavior.
When Gino tells Jack he’s got another horse tip after Jack just got a very shady, risky loan from his uncle, he informs him, ‘It’ll help me… Okay, we’ll split it you’ll get something too.’ The selfish nonchalance of it all is what makes Gino a fun character. At the same time, you can tell he has the best of intentions for his friend, as long as it benefits him in some way first.
Even when Gino discovers his best buddy just got married to a girl named Anna, his first thought is why he finds out the info last. He’s relentless in trying to figure out if pal Jack has business with his uncle that he’s cutting him out of the loop from. During all of this, Gino is fully aware that he ‘kind of screwed’ Jack over prior but can’t help putting himself first.
The delightful Italian accent of Anna played by another film standout in Daniela Mastropietro, perfectly compliments Gino’s vagabond roughness later on. Gino attempts to pull another fast one with a doctored wedding album to help his friend’s sham marriage out. However, Anna is not a fan, immediately sensing they’ll be caught and presenting a drawing Jack made instead. The smile on Gino’s face when giving the doctored photo album to immigration says it all. A total comedic contrast to Anna’s worry that she’ll be sent of the country. It’s what makes each scene Gino is in fun and wholly unpredictable.
Likewise, Gino’s relationship with his uncle Dennis [Aidan Redmond] is what complete’s his arch. Despite Jack seemingly looking up to Gino, uncle Dennis sees him for what he is. Always reluctant to help him out and trying to figure out what his nephew’s angle is. One of the best parts of the film is when Dennis sends his nephew to dig randomly, without informing him what he’s digging from. Gino shovels aimlessly as punishment, unknowingly looking for a lost wedding ring. A wedding ring that Dennis’ wife Vera [Lisa Regina] demands be found, no excuses.
Johnny Solo’s character Gino is one you’d like to see again in a sequel or on a weekly TV sitcom. The kind of character where you’re curious what shenanigans they’re up to this week. That’s not easy to craft in any performance, comedic or not. Selling believability is an acting skillset not to be taken lightly.
79 Parts: Director’s Cut Film Trailer and Info
Visit the 79 Parts: Director’s Cut official website for more information about the film which features Oscar nominated actor Eric Roberts and a landlord guest role by Sandra Bernhard. 79 Parts: Director’s Cut is a Safier Entertainment and Factory Film Studios film by Hit and Run Productions. The film was directed by Ari Taub with the screenplay / characters being penned by Mario Radosta along with Chuck McMahon and John Ramaine.