The Big Break

By Gil Freston | Comedy
A struggling actor and director finally crack under the pressures of navigating the entertainment business.

Jon and Will are a struggling actor and director, respectively, who have been trying to “make it” in Hollywood for some time. Lately, though, their efforts feel increasingly futile or fueled more on delusion than anything else.

They meet up for lunch as a L.A. hotspot, surrounded by typically Californian “beautiful people” who all seem to be on the verge of their own amazing “projects.” Pushed to his limit, Will hits a breaking point, setting off a violent melee that causes the pair to go on the run from the cops, led by veteran actor David Arquette in a smartly hilarious turn.

Eventually the action escalates and Jon’s slick but sadistic agent — who hasn’t been returning Jon’s calls — finds himself in the crossfire. It eventually culminates in an action-packed, hugely entertaining collision of bullets and egos that only a movie about Hollywood could provide.

Clever, smart and supremely entertaining, writer-director Gil Freston’s compelling blend of kinetic action and biting comedy is polished, well-crafted and as visually slick as its Hollywood milieu, resplendent with sun-soaked cinematography, beautiful and/or famous people and the gnawing, burning desire to become successful and famous more than anything else.

The short is clearly a tribute to the great buddy action movies of the 80s, mixed with an incisive cultural commentary on millennial and media culture today. The build-up takes its time, but once it gets going, the pace doesn’t let up, and many of its one-liners and throwaway lines reveal razor-sharp wit, delivered by the strong cast with a knowing sense of both grandiosity and self-awareness.

Narratively the film is textured and tonally quite complex, marrying a deft comedic moments and high-octane action with genuine satire about the emptiness and Pyrrhic success of modern culture, with its emphasis on followers and view counts. Even as it lampoons Hollywood’s dream factory, the film offers the pleasures of high-budget spectacle, delivered with consummate skill and smarts. The high irony is that this short about the spiritual bankruptcy of Hollywood is a great calling card for its filmmaking team, able to balance a tricky blend of genres with undeniable professionalism and great flair.

There’s enough in “The Big Break” to pack an entire feature film, visually and narratively. This is a short that isn’t afraid to “go big” in all senses of the phrase, whether it’s with a propulsive gunfight or the sense of desperation that drives the main characters. Watching this rollicking, hugely entertaining film is dirty rotten fun — though it might make you think twice about humblebragging in public.

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