Short Film Review “Solutions”



First, the Recap:

The willingness to do anything in order for a goal to be obtained. Now, this can be considered both an admirable level of determination or a potentially foreboding sign that someone just might be in a bit of trouble if on the receiving end of said “anything”. But when you’re the one being approached to do the “anything” in question, well, that’s alright–right? Take the occupation of a local “fixer” named Derek Price (David P.B. Stephens). Having no real scruples to speak of, Derek believes in the old adage that “Everyone has a price”.

So, when he is approached by an equally unscrupulous businessman named James Cross (Timothy J. Cox) who is wanting some additional “help” to become mayor, Derek is more than happy to assist–if his cost is met. Cross, reluctant with the sum he is quoted, agrees. To make matters more tedious for Derek is his son Damon (Oise Ohiwerei) who’s always been a tad curious about what dear old Dad does for a living. Against better judgment, Derek brings Damon into the Cross job, educating him on tricks of the trade to “bond” with him. But, in the end, Derek teaches the most deadly lesson of them all.

Next, my Mind:

Storywriter/director/producer/cinematographer/editor Zachary Halfter and actor/writer/cinematographer Stephen Pavlics  muster up a darkly comedic, mainly dramatic 19-minute effort, and do so with a clever flare that keeps the viewer engaged while leading us down the rabbit hole of dirty dealings and higher consequences when it comes to that wonderful equalizer known as cold, hard cash. It could honestly all be considered a very astute cautionary tale about why it simply isn’t smart to enter into shady contracts in the first place, both parties being rather unsavory sorts notwithstanding. Adding the whole father-son relationship building process into the mix gives the film both a humorous twist and a serious turn as well, given the two characters’ conflicting viewpoints on how to conduct business, especially with sonny boy learning his on the job “assignments” the hard way. Given the finale’s resolution, guess there is something to be said for hands-on training?

Stephens does a great job in his role as Price, a no-nonsense, hard-nosed “fixer” who truly has loyalty to nothing but the cash he earns and the results he produces. Watching his manipulation of Cross says everything we need to know about him, but it’s more when his son interjects himself into his father’s current job that gives Price a chance to show some genuine parental affection and guidance–even if what he’s teaching is 100% illegal. Stephens plays this all to a “T”. Ohiwerei is solid as Damon, Derek’s son and, as mentioned above, really an innocent in life until he decides he desires to delve into Daddy’s world. Seeing Damon’s own hesitations about what his Dad does is certainly understandable and realistic, and getting literally thrown into actions directly associated with it is unnerving. Yet, the two become closer out of it all, and it leads us to believe that Damon just might end up being an ongoing part of Dad’s future endeavors, especially in view of the final lesson.

Cox, as anyone who has been following my reviews over the years, is very much one of my favorite overall character actors in the indie realms, as his ability to make any character he portrays interesting and memorable is second to none.  Here is no exception, exceling yet again as crooked businessman James Cross, whose road to the mayor’s office must be achieved by any means necessary. It’s one of those character whom you love to hate and are just waiting for the tables to turn on. But in this case, with all parties involved basically crooked, well, what do you do? Regardless, Cox is wonderful here as always. Additional supporting turns are present from Shannon Costigan as Cross’ daughter, Yasmin Oxcan as a waitress, and Pavlics as a Man On The Street. In total, “Solutions” is a wonderfully done and entertaining, albeit dark, bit of indie short film artistry that is well worth a look and could well be a nice little–solution–for a quick bit of viewing pleasure. It won’t even cost you a dime.

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


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