Scottie, a businessman, is tired of his good luck. So, he seeks to be punished for his "curse".
Written By: Tom Paolino,
Directed By: Chris Esper
Throwing "Please Punish Me" into the comedy genre is on one hand, a fit; at the same time however, not so much. There are some comedic elements present, and a few jokes thrown in by way of crazy circumstance, but this felt more to me like a tale of finding yourself. At the very least, accepting and moving to change. I suppose the beauty of film is that each viewer can take away a little something different, and I have a feeling that will be the case here. As a source of entertainment however, you can't really go wrong when watching this. Everything is here! A few jokes, a good story, and something you may even be left thinking about when it's over. "Please Punish Me" packs a lot into the 15 or so minutes it plays out.
The writing, specifically the dialog was penned very well. Even the amusing parts don't feel as if they were written to be funny. Just kind of turned out that way. Tom Paolino and Rich Camp did a fantastic job writing a real life tale; yet infusing it with some comedic chops. Something that can be a daunting task... and done right only by a select few. Director Chris Esper has done a great job catching and coaching these moments, as the cast bangs out line after line. Dialog heavy productions can very quickly become boring, but not in this case. The mix of good direction and sharp editing keeps the energy flowing and the production fresh. David Sackal, in the lead role, does an excellent job not only with delivery, but also his mastery of expression; bringing the lead character to life alongside Joanna Donofrio, who shines in her role alongside him. Come to think of it, the entire cast did a great job! I can't think of anything that came across as awkward or hollow. "Please Punish Me" is simply put... a really well done and well acted short film.
Although I would love to have the same kind of "luck" as the lead in this film, I can also see the sadness of never earning or loving what you do. So many people get steered away from their dreams, becoming part of the social machine we call society. For those of us who stay the course a very full life can be waiting. It's hard though. Sometimes you literally have-to-do what you have -to-do and cast your personal ambitions aside. Sometimes forever. Most of the time forever. "Please Punish Me" is an entertaining way to gently remind us of what could be, what is, and what we want it to be. All rolled into a pretty damn entertaining package.
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