‘The Unexpected Promotion’ is a 10-minute story about a muscly armed man named Matt who used to sell drugs. Matt seems to still be caught up in this world of crime even though he insists that he’s out, and, to make matters worse, the cops are closing in on him. Is there a way out of the drug world for Matt?
Now, from those 43 words, one could surmise this to be an intense crime drama, or something more on the ‘Lethal Weapon’ side, with humor and action-packed throughout. I just finished watching this short about 10 minutes ago, and the only thing I found to be “unexpected” is how unexpectedly silly the movie was.
First, the positives. There are many unexpectedly funny moments in the film. If you’re a fan of “so bad it’s good” films, this one is right up your ally, and, in many ways, it can be compared to the best of the worst. Was it intentionally made to be funny? Probably not. However, I found myself laughing at the ridiculousness of some of the scenes.
Take, for example, our introduction to our main antagonist of the short, who follows Matt into the locker rooms after a hard workout. The confrontation is supposed to seem threatening and show the stakes of the film, but it instead comes across like it was purposefully edited to look like a funny scene. Good or bad, I feel like this could be viewed as a positive for repeat viewings, and to show in film classes as an example of how editing can change the entire tone of a movie.
Editing is no doubt this short’s Achilles heel. Often during the short, I noticed how chaotic the editing choices were and how much they took away from the actors’ performances.
Referring back to the above-mentioned scene, there are choices done in the framing and timing of each shot that is so distracting you can’t connect to anything you’re watching. Some shots don’t even have anything in the frame! Others skip over each other like you sat on the remote and hit rewind for a second by accident. I think 40-50% of the issues I have with the film could be fixed with a re-edit and more attention to detail to the little things.
Where the rest of the issues lie is in the story. Who is Matt? Where is he from? Why did he start selling drugs in the first place? Why did he quit? We are expected to relate to someone who, by the end of the film, you know just as much about as you did at the beginning. If there’s no arc to the main character, nowhere for him to grow and conceptualize, then how can anyone connect with them?
There are some action scenes that are shot shakily, and again, due to editing, are hard to follow. It’s, unfortunately, not a well-executed short and needs work. There are moments of unintentional humor to get you through it, but, other than that, there’s not much else you can expect from it.