The Penny Black

A documentary which is heavy on the mystery. A mystery involving a strange neighbour and a million dollar stamp collection. The neighbour has asked Will, a very normal young guy, to watch his stamp collection for a few days. Time goes by and the owner of the stamps has not come back nor contacted Will. Time keeps going by and things keep getting stranger leaving Will really wanting to find out what was going on.

Then the hmmmmm part gets even deeper as a valuable part of the collection goes missing. Now filmmaker Joe Saunders begins to wonder how honest the subject of his film, Will, was. Especially since Will has told him that his father is a pathological liar, seller of art he did not own and was deported back to England when he was caught. Paranoia and stress mounts. Will seems to be coming apart at the seams. He moves to another part of Los Angeles.

An instance of truth being stranger than fiction. Makes for good movie watching, though. I was totally drawn in and wanted to see the mystery to the end. Figure or find out what was going on. It is certainly not something you hear about every day.

Director Saunders heard Will, a guy he just met, tell this story the day previous to the start of him making the film. The story is that interesting and gripping. Like an onion, the layers of the strange story begin to peel away as the film goes on. The hunt for the stamp owner, who Will believes is named Roman, begins. Things get weirdly linked like the stamps and Will’s upbringing.

No matter what you think of Will (trust him or not) I am sure everyone will agree that he is very watchable. Everything he seems to do is filled with emotion and purpose. This is all contagious. And yet there is something in the back of your mind which tells you that there might be something else going on which we cannot see. Is the story Will telling us actually the truth? At times he does come off as “off” or sketchy.

Private investigators are brought on board to try and get to the truth. The stamp collection is appraised and it is found to be truly valuable. Questions keep popping up. Is Will in danger due to the value? Where is Roman? Is he dead?

Because of all of the uncertainty, you find yourself injecting yourself into the story. Wondering what you would have done in Will’s place. Also is it fact or fiction. Nothing is really answered but not in an aggravating way but a I want to see more way.

The film is out now and available on Amazon, Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes/Apple TV, Vimeo, and others.

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