What's the perfect night for the power to get shut off? Game night of course. Could those pesky power companies pick a worse evening? Considering it's the world series, Gary thinks not. As his house goes dark and the television powers down, Gary is forced to find another way to tune into the world series. He needs to see it. Judging by his haggard appearance, the lack of electricity in his home is just another thread added - to a long string of recent failures. Many of us have been in similar situations before, and the person who says things happen in threes doesn't have a clue.
The problem is that Gary is seemingly known to his neighbors. Known to be a schmuck and a loser. Combine that with his less than stellar appearance, and it seems he has a problem. Who in their right mind would let him in their home? To watch a game no less? As he shambles around he comes across a neighbors newly teenage girl. Although apprehensive, she finally agrees to let him watch the game... from outside the back door. Finally for Gary. Some light at the end of the tunnel.
It's all good until Rya, the little girl, informs him that she's bleeding from the bum area. In fact, she's sure she is dying. What was originally a desperate attempt to watch the series, becomes a chance encounter with redemption. Or the possibility for some degree of it. As the two begin to talk, Gary fears the unthinkable. Is something insidious happening within the home of his well-to-do neighbor? "Zero-Zero" is a great reminder that even those we consider undesirables, or losers, are still human beings. A reminder that even selfishness doesn't have to be forever. We never do get to see the aftermath of this chance encounter, but we can imagine. We can imagine lives changed. Lives turned around. Perhaps Randall Whittinghill's best trick, with this short film, is the thoughts you have when it's done. The trip to that destination however, was a pleasure to have watched.
Recently it seems, a massive influx of great indie films have emerged. Low budget movies coming out of the woodwork that look... absolutely great! "Zero-Zero" is definitely no exception. Crisp, clear and edited nicely, Randall Whittinghill's short film absolutely looks a lot bigger than I'm sure it was. Even the audio, save a few minor issues at the end, played clear as a bell. From a production standpoint, this may not come across as a billion dollar production, but damn... it could give many of the larger films out there a run for their money.
With that said, the real fun comes from the cast. Antonio D Charity, as the down on his luck Cubs fan Gary, really did come across as a man who has seen better days. Defeated, sad and depressed. Obviously, lazy as well... but for the sake of this write-up I'll go with depression causing laziness. More on that later.
Kruiz Mauga as Rya was absolutely adorable. In the most professional sense I can think of. Working with kids can be tough but I gotta say, Kruiz... if you read this... splendid. All the clues were in place with her portrayal of Rya. The quick snaps of irritability, the uneasy but clever lead-in to her pressing questions. All around, excellent job. Refreshingly excellent.
Yet here we are finally with my only real complaint. It's the description, the back story written on the box so to speak. You see - I rarely read descriptions before watching. As I watched this film, I had no idea what I was getting into. My point? I should never have read the description afterwards. It changed a lot of what I thought was happening in the film. Nowhere in the "actual" movie, that I recall, does it state Gary is a deadbeat dad. Obviously, he is down on his luck... but that could be for many reasons. My impression was that he somehow lost his family. Yes, things were ambiguous, but reading that description, about him being a deadbeat dad, really affected my thoughts on the film. At first, I thought maybe this movie was about healing. The beginning of Gary's redemption. Now... I don't have that anymore. What a shame. Considering nothing actually in the movie itself, states otherwise, I don't fully understand why it's in the description. It adds nothing to the story... and possibly takes something away.
Back to the good... I loved how the film plays with the viewers emotions. I'll admit it... I thought the worst, when Rya began explaining what was happening to her. Then, when the true issue came to light... there was a huge sigh of relief. Excellent writing. Loved it.
At the end of the day this was a great short story executed in a way that did it justice. I have little doubt "Zero-Zero" will have any issues finding an audience. Why would it? To the cast and crew - thumbs up. Excellent work all around.