I must have missed something here because that wasn’t nearly as clever or as effective as it seems to think it is.

The fifteen minute short is based on this premise ‘Your partner has sent a hitman to kill you. You’re offered your life so that you can hire the same hitman to kill your partner. What do you do?’

It’s a solid premise. Too bad about the film itself.

The actors, to their credit, do the best with what they have. There are decent performances here, albeit buried under some cliched dialogue and characterisation. It starts off okay, though nothing ground-breaking, or even particularly interesting. They try to build up the tension throughout this film and try to emphasise how big a deal the situation is for the characters involved but it honestly feels off because the ‘hitman’ character is so one-note and cliche that I can’t take him seriously; even though (evidently) it’s the opposite the actor, writer and director are trying to achieve.

hitman

To be fair, there are some decent lines of dialogue in the film, but 80% of the screenplay is garbage. There are some incredibly crazy lines and then the rest are incredibly cliched.

“Let me tell you something. I’m not the bad guy here. I’m the tendon that you flex. An accelerant. I’m not the bad guy. I’m not the one creeping about with a secret. I’m not the one with a fish in this race.”

That’s just one of the lines that the hitman says. There’s a lot wrong with this in the context of the film, but (in terms of bad writing) I couldn’t help but pick up on the following:

What on earth is with the fish? I think the writer was aiming for ‘dog/stake in this fight’ or ‘horse in this race’ but wanted to try to be ‘original’ (should have tried harder throughout the whole film really) but the line just comes off as bizarre. ‘Fish in this race’ is not a saying! It just acts as a huge detriment to the already shambolic message of the line and the film in general.

an entanglement

The screenplay contradicts itself and the dialogue doesn’t match up with what message I think the story is trying to convey. It’s just a mess that takes itself too seriously.

Which is a real shame because the actors are all decent enough, the production values are all fantastic. But the screenplay is so dumb and uninspired and the dialogue so bad that it ruins the final product.

You can have the best director, cinematographer and actors in the world but if your screenplay is dire then there’s nothing that anyone can do.

What’s that old saying? You can’t polish a fish.

2/5

 

Dir: Dylan Sanford
Scr: Yancy Berns
Cast: Shiri Appleby, Sean Bell, Gary Wolf, Susan Hull
Prd: Dylan Sanford
DOP: Jason Oldak
Music: Amy Millan
Country: USA
Year: 2015
Run time: 15 minutes

‘An Entanglement’ is out now  on Vimeo

By Jordan Smith

Author, film reviewer. Aspiring actor, screenwriter & director person.