Short Film Review “Pitch Black Heist”

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First, the Recap:

Living a life of criminality, one would honestly never expect there would be any truth to the notion of honor among thieves, right? After all, isn’t it really every man for himself, watching your back, and trusting no one?  Career safe cracker Michael (Michael Fassbender) has been called upon for what appears to be a nice, straightforward job–steal specific contents from a safe and deliver them to their employer. Along for the caper is fellow convict Liam (Liam Cunningham), with whom Michael has a somewhat strained yet close association with.

Given the final layout by a third party involved, Isaac (Alex Mcqueen), the two men learn the one catch to the whole affair–they will need to pull off the entire operation in complete darkness, as the locations light-sensing alarm system will otherwise betray them. Learning the steps needed to carry out the heist, the two men experience an unforeseen length of downtime before the official word is given to pull off the job, spending hours to reminisce and drink. Once underway, success is achieved, but with one key element changing that suddenly and overtly impacts one of the men’s circumstances.

Next, my Mind:

John Maclean, the writer/director behind 2015’s indie feature-length theatrical effort “Slow West“, delves wholeheartedly into the concept of how loyalty within the criminal ranks when it comes to a job’s score doesn’t always quite end the way it should, at least not for everyone connected to the task. Brash in its dialogue and overall manner while filmed utilizing the stark shades of black & white cinematography, this 13-minute drama moves along solidly mainly thanks to the bantering and overall nature of Michael and Liam as they battle each other one moment then get all buddy buddy the next while simply desiring to obtain their prize and their payout.

Fassbender can always manage to bring his own level of presence and gravitas to any role he plays, and he does so again here as Michael, the more focused, intense, and no-nonsense half of the thieving duo. Yet, even in the midst of the seriousness, Fassbender takes the character into some humorous moments as well, which at least helps lighten the overall mood a smidge. Cunningham as Liam offers the more unconcealed, carefree, and pent up member of the crew, casually spouting profanity and treating the situation with a level of overconfident contempt, despite wanting to also gain the monetary reward of their task as well. The pair together is a treat to take in, and the finale is quite a stinger to boot.

Macqueen’s cameo as Isaac, the man with the heist’s overall plan, is solid and actually quite entertaining when he meets with the two thieves over coffee and biscuits in the warehouse where the practice runs are done. As a whole, “Pitch Black Heist” was a fine example of short film fun, albeit little more harsh language in a short timespan than this reviewer would prefer. But, anchored well by two amazing actors who’ve more than proven their worth since, it is certainly worth viewing.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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