My first question to myself was this - where and what was the science fiction angle? "Sombra City" didn't feel futuristic. No flying cars or cool gadgets. No space aliens either. Hell... Elias Plagianos's short film didn't even seem to have any time travel. No time travel? What the hell kind of sci-fi is this? It did look pretty though. At least there was that. Right?
Then, as I was about to chalk the genre up to a misprint in the back of my mind, the revelation came. Quick and easy like the bullet from a gun - legal murder. Now it all made sense. As did the date "Sombra City" takes place. Slightly in the future - in case you're wondering. Plagianos's short film was showcasing the potential for a hired gun to make a legal living. To kill people, and not go to jail. There are rules of course. We couldn't have everyone going around killing everyone else for fun could we? And damn this was a good idea for a short film. Any film actually. The fact it's a lower budget indie flick, doesn't even factor in to the equation - because one thing is clear... "Sombra City" shows itself quite nicely. No question about that.
You may be thinking that legal murder isn't quite a new idea. Anyone familiar with the "Purge" movies, knows exactly what I'm talking about. However, Elias Plagianos has his own spin on the idea. Being able to kill someone is not a one day event. It's all year round baby. You simply need to get a license, be hired, and not do it in public. Those are some of the rules... oh... and you have to let the victim know your intentions. So they can defend themselves. All sounds a little crazy right? It is. Crazy like a fox.
In this particular story, our assassin has his sights on the husband of an old flame. Things are going just as expected until suddenly... they're not. We, the viewers, get a little surprise - as does the would-be hit man. Just what is that little surprise? You'll have to watch to find out. But don't worry if you're pressed for time. With a length of under ten minutes, and a production as polished as this one, there's no reason not to check out this short film when you can. You'll be glad you did.
"Sombra City" isn't your run and gun style action movie. Not an action film at all really, and that's a little odd when considering the theme and content. This is a slower paced - but deliberate short film. No scenes of ridiculous blood or guts. No car chases or martial arts showdowns. This is a character driven drama hidden within a violent premise. But it works - and works well. Josh Burrow and Mariela Garriga as our two leads own the screen. Watching these two interact awkwardly, at times, was a great way to build tension within a film with a slower pacing. Adding these two to a mix, that already contains top notch video work and excellent audio, was a great way to ensure a good film. As I've hinted at, "Sombra City" looks a hell of a lot bigger than I'm sure it was. The casting and production work were key aspects sure... but the locations also add to the beauty of this flick. I don't really have much else to say except excellent work all around. Period.
At the end of the day, I was quite impressed with this one. It caught me off guard in the best possible way. Older viewers, and those with an appreciation for character movies - over lightning quick pacing - will really love this piece. But the truth is that most anyone will agree it's a good film. Even if the slower thing isn't your cup of tea. To Elias and the entire troupe behind this film... it was a pleasure. Truly. A solid four stars.