Monday, 13 July 2015

Time to Kill (2014 Short Film Review)

(2014, dir: Justin Rettke)

As some of you may know, I am a big fan of crime and action cinema. When I was approached earlier this month to check out an exclusive online screening of the short film Time to Kill, a film following the life of a hitman, I was very excited and honoured. That being said, I always feel uneasy when I see some of my favourite concepts and genres being tackled from a comedic perspective. To save spoiling the complete story for you, here's the synopsis:
“For years, we've seen that moment. The hit man, sitting in the chair, moonlight slicing across his face, his gun pointed at his sputtering victim. Harris is such a man, so very good at what he does. What he’s not so good at is filling the time before the kill. Time he spends questioning his life, wondering if he even has one. Harris can kill anything that moves... except time.”
I always go in to films with an open mind, no matter if it's something I seek out for myself or if it's a film that has been sent over by those directly involved. Why blindfully bullshit and give a dishonest review? Thankfully, I can honestly say that I really enjoyed this 10 minute short. Watching a seemingly cold blooded hitman killing time and revealing himself to be just like you and I is a concept I don't think I have seen before. He has his problems just like us regular folk. He's got an overbearing mother, relationship issues as well as wanting more out of his life. An average Joe who just happens to make his money by being a cold blooded killer. Christoper T. Wood (Friends with Benefits) plays the hitman in a subtle, ultimately realistic way and definitely looks the part. Even though he's essentially the only character in the short, he carries the film's narrative nicely.

The film was paced nicely and fitted the 10 minut run pretty much perfectly thanks to some well executed editing from Jack Price (in his first credit) and solid directing and writing by Justin Rettke (
Hawaii Five-0), T. Wood and Scott Frank (Her First Black Guy). The comedy aspect is just right. Blending some slapstick elements with juxtapositions and some genuinely witty moments. In terms of aesthetic quality, this is a high quality production with some simple, yet effective cinematography by Michael Marius Pessah (Little Erin Merryweather). It's a good looking film and the sound is equally impressive with a very fitting score by Brandon Vaccaro (Driven to Ride
) that adds to mood. All in all, it's just a very polished and enjoyable short that doesn't outstay its runtime or undeliver. It's a subtle comedic character study that fans of comedy should definitely check out. Everyone involved deserves to praised. From what I saw, there's definitely room for a sequel, maybe even prequel, which I would be more than happy to check out.

It's definitely safe to see why it has received the praise and success it has had on the festival circuit.Want to check it out for yourself? Well you can! Those involved have made it available to stream online free:

Time to Kill from Cindy Hong on Vimeo.

A massive thank you to Christopher T. Wood for giving me the opportunity to check out this short prior to release!


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