WATCH THE FILM HERE
First, the Recap:
The quest to be known, to be heard, to be recognized, appreciated, respected, even loved. For a performer in any medium, this is the ultimate goal in honing their craft and presenting it to the masses. Or at least to the rather small crowd gathered at the local club to hear struggling comedian Billy (Will Bernish), who just cannot seem to center in on a bit that elicits the desired laughs from his audience. However, this particular night, he discovers that making fun of himself, specifically a birth defect he bears, gets the reactions he craves. Finally feeling great about what he’s accomplishing, the night takes a new turn post-gig.
Enter talent agent Mickey Goldsmith (Timothy J. Cox), a less than scrupulous individual with an imperious, conceited manner to accompany his surface-only smile and “wit”. Inviting Billy to his table and forcing the young man to have a drink with him and his lady friend Puma (Tatiana Ford), whom actually seems to resent Mickey potentially even more than Billy learns to, the coldly pragmatic, merciless agent begins to spin a tale of former client Adrian Mann (Matt Moores) and the less than amicable contract deal the two shared. Suddenly, Billy realizes the veiled offer of success could actually be the worst possible deal to accept.
Next, my Mind:
Adapted from a story concept by Maxwell Gontarek, director/co-writer Brandon Block’s 10-minute short film drama carries itself very well in delivering a tale that honestly shines a candid light upon the backend elements of the entertainment industry, even if presented here with darkly comedic undertones. The fact that so many young, hungry, wannabes flock to New York or L.A. with dreams of becoming the next superstar, how often might it truly end up like this narrative here where their naiveté causes them to get swept up into bad situations with agents whose only goal is to make life better for themselves at no cost to them, but rather to their new client? Even the more muted colors and manner in which this film is shot speaks to this rather ominous aura.
As I have watched Cox in many, many films over the last several years, one incontrovertible fact stands strong when it comes to the absolutely consistent, amazingly talented character actor–he can play arrogant, hubristic people exceedingly well! As Mickey in this effort, the actor so smoothly and with superb effect transitions the weasely agent from being this “nice”, inviting soul to a cold-hearted, embittered man with no conscious in a heartbeat, via facial expressions and fluid delivery that simply makes you hate this character, as we should. On the opposite end of attitude spectrum is Bernish as Billy, the overall inexperienced, gullible star-seeker who’s reactions to Mickey’s demeanor shows both a desire to accept and a total revulsion as well. Enacting this dilemma of conscious is well-played and suitably realistic on the part of Bernish, much to his credit being opposite the veteran Cox.
The supporting turn provided by Ford as Mickey’s less than pleased yet strangely loyal lady friend Puma, whose role in trying to persuade Billy to have his own mind about the offer presented while illustrating her previous part in Mann’s contract position, makes for an interesting lesson in behind-the-scenes politics. Then Moores’ Mann, of course, IS the poor lad made an example of when it comes to the devious and exploitive ways Mickey’s dealings are carried out. In total, “Psychic Murder” certainly makes its points about the shady side of the industry with frank, but entertaining and well-acted, poise that might actually cause hesitation on the part of those starry-eyed newbies entering the performance-based world–or maybe just draw them in more.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!