“Good luck, whatever you’re up to.”


Stray Bullets has the air of a film student project which would be an insult were its creator not in high school at the time. Sixteen-year-old Jack Fessenden takes directing, writing, composing and editing credits in his debut feature, along with a starring role. His age explains how heavily Stray Bullets leans into tropes, with its gangsters fleeing a botched job plainly inspired by early Tarantino. However, its setting in upstate New York feels fresh with its surprisingly verdant backdrops, coupled with an anachronistic synthesiser score. Fessenden is admittedly aided by growing up in a filmmaking family ⁠— his father Larry Fessenden operates the a production company and he captures his son’s vision with beautiful cinematography. The film’s strength lies in its quieter moments, the camera dwelling on serene greenery between scenes. However, it can also highlight the pacing issues, with little story development in the first hour. Stray Bullets is hard to recommend as more than an indie curiosity, but it’s an impressive statement of intent from Fessenden, whose skills will only continue to mature.