Well this was an unexpected surprise. I was completely in the dark, on what to expect from this short film from Phil Dunn. "Box Office Smash" as a title, conjures up images of blockbuster movies or even sporting events and concerts. None play any factor here, yet this title is completely appropriate for the movies content - even if the content itself is a little strange.
In this short film, an unnamed office worker diligently chugs along at the days task. By the looks of things, this particular day is being spent digitizing job satisfaction surveys. The man looks happy. Content with knowing he's doing an excellent job. That inspirational quote, of aiming for perfection and settling for experience, is a constant screen hoarder - letting us viewers know that even menial jobs require someone to do them. So if you're going to do it... do it well. Correct?
So many of us can relate with this life, and generally stand on one side of the grass or the other. We either complain about how tedious and crappy a job is, and let our minds wonder. Or, on the other side of the grass, we take pride in the work we do - and do it right. Boring or not. It's the daily grind. The boxed life of an office worker. That's how "Box Office Smash" starts. Innocent and common enough...
...then things get a little strange. That office we've been watching? Not quite what you may think. Still... it's an excellent reminder of just how close we all are to actually living life - and not just existing within it. However, by the end of the film due to an electrical issue, "Box Office Smash" succeeds in revealing it's true narrative nature. Or does it? Phil Dunn's film is one that can be taken in more than one way. But it sure looks good doing it. No question about that.
As I stated above, "Box Office Smash" looks great. I'm not just talking about the technical aspects - I'm also talking about the artistic ones. The visuals here are borderline cold. Cold and crisp... almost clinical. This visual experience really helps solidify the life of our unnamed office worker. Calculating.
I should also mention the audio. "Box Office Smash" is almost dialog free - letting the score help push the story forward. It not only works, but sounds great doing it. If you happen to find yourself experiencing equal parts understanding, and equal parts of slipping into a dream like trance... you're not alone. It's a slightly surreal experience - and lends itself perfectly to feel of this film.
When it's all said and done? "Box Office Smash" pushes itself well above the average mark. Being completely honest, it wasn't exactly my cup of coffee... but still, despite that, it kept me eagerly watching all through it's short nine minutes. Perhaps it was the strange nature of the film. Perhaps the familiar story/life that I could relate with. Who knows for sure. Regarding those points that didn't quite do it for me? I can't really say what exactly they were. For myself, "Box Office Smash" was a really good short film... just not a really great one. However, in the world of micro budget indie film, even getting to that point, where your film is considered average, can be really tough. This movie far surpasses that mark and is recommended viewing for sure. Three and a half solid stars out of five.