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Film Review: 9,8 M/S2

In his psychological thriller/drama “9,8 m/s2”, writer-director Michael Vaynberg creates an emotional story about friendship, love and betrayal.  In "9,8 m/s2", Danny (Pasha D. Lychnikoff), a Russian immigrant, 47) hijacks a taxi cab on a Saturday night and rushes through Manhattan. Through flashbacks, we learn that Danny is furious - his beautiful wife Elen (Lyanka Gryu) hasn't come home yet again, Danny is convinced she is cheating. Unable to contain his fury and frustration anymore he drives the stolen taxicab prowling the notable spots of the city, including tourist magnets, in search for his chippy wife. All the while Danny is on the cell phone, engaged in a conversation with a friend Erik (Michael Sirow), an immigration lawyer. The latter handled Danny's case to obtain a green card and both men became friends. Erik acts as a personal psychoanalyst, a shoulder to cry on, as a friend, who listens to the emotional flood erupting from the cell phone and tries to calm Danny down. Erik seems to be aware of the problem and it is obvious the situation has been discussed between the two on a number of occasions in the past. This time everything seemingly played out following the old scenario and was moving towards a peaceful resolution. Erik nearly managed to calm down Danny and convince him to go home and wait for Elen there when, unexpectedly, Danny turns up, in the middle of a night, driving a stolen taxi, right at Erik's doorstep.

"9,8 m/s2" is thrilling throughout. The tension is high from the very first scene, and then it only increases as Danny gets closer to solving the mystery. When he does, the entire atmosphere changes- from the score to the editing- and everything becomes quiet, which perfectly represents Danny's mind at that moment. From that moment on, things will never be the same again for all three characters. It starts with Danny's wife Elen who makes things even more complicated, and until Danny's decision in the end.  Excellent performances by Pasha D. Lychnikoff, Lyanka Gryu and Michael Sirow, clever editing and score, and overall an intriguing story with surprising moments.  "9,8 m/s2" is a two-time LAFA winner - Best Editing (Michael Vaynberg) and Best Actor (Pasha D. Lychnikoff), October 2018.

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