Time to Kill

By Justin Rettke | Comedy
What does a hitman do while he waits for his mark to get home?

A lone hitman, Harris, sits in the apartment of his latest target, gun in hand, and waits for his mark to arrive.

But his victim doesn’t arrive at the expected time, leaving Harris to his own devices to contemplate his life, take calls from his mom, ponders his latest insights from therapy, mull a change in career direction… and leading him to wonder just what kind of life he’s living, and if it’s really much of a life to begin with.

Actor-writer Christopher Wood and director Justin Rettke have crafted an existential crime comedy that takes an iconic moment from many film noir and crime dramas and brings it down to the level of everyday modern life, complete with pressures to get married, issues with work-life balance and a general sense of “Is this all there is?”

Most every filmgoer knows that image of a hitman shrouded in shadows, lurking in the darkness as he waits for his latest target. Visually, the film honors this cinematic heritage, playing with shadows and a distinctly Los Angeles take on noir in the framing.

But vivid colors and subtle touches of humor in the set design indicate this isn’t a typical hard-boiled crime drama, as does the smart, witty writing and characterization of Harris as just another man doing his job while navigating other pressures in life, including a mom who wants him to settle down and a nagging sense that he’s not achieving his full potential.

Wood plays Harris with both the potential remove and menace that is expected from a hitman, but also with the relatable insecurity and irritation that comes from juggling multiple pressures and imperatives in modern culture. The film’s scope is limited to one room and — for much of the runtime — one character, a difficult setup to make emotionally and visually dynamic. But the camerawork carved out a lot of dynamism within that space, and the script burrows deep within Harris’s character. As a result, Wood’s performance ably delineates many specific, precise beats and textures within this fairly narrow milieu, creating a funny, fascinating and very relatable portrait of someone dissatisfied with their path in life and contemplating his next move.

Of course, Harris still has a job to do, and eventually the film raises the question of just how his night of self-reflection will affect how he does it. The denouement is almost off-hand, but the crime in the end isn’t the point of this clever and ultimately thoughtful comedy. Because sometimes nothing is harder than being forced to slow down long enough to contemplate our lives — and it’s amazing just how much we are willing to distract ourselves to avoid sitting in discomfort with the limitations of our life choices.




You Might Also Like:

Mordechai

By Benjamin Bee | Drama
An ultra-orthodox Jew hasn't seen his identical twin brother in years. But today is the day of their father's funeral.

Retouch

By Kaveh Mazaheri | Drama
Her husband has an accident at home... and she just watches him die.

Stealing Silver ft. Maisie Williams

By Mark Lobatto | Drama
A woman confronts a painful time in her life after discovering the truth about a mysterious old man living across from her.

Joseph’s Reel

By Michael Lavers | Romance
An elderly man, upon dying, is given the opportunity to relive one day of his life.

Cradle

By Devon Manney | Animation
Returning to the U.S. after losing both arms, a veteran battles phantom pains, prosthetics and memories of his pre-war life.

Hold On

By Charlotte Scott-Wilson | Drama
A young cellist develops stage fright after one of her cello strings comes lose during an important performance.

Don’t Be a Hero

By Pete Lee | Drama
A middle-aged woman battles her loneliness and boredom by robbing banks in the guise of a cowboy on her lunch break.

Our Kind of Love

By Elham Ehsas and Azeem Bhati | Romance
An Afghan village girl goes on her first date in London.

Lost and Found

By Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe | Animation
A clumsy crochet dinosaur must unravel itself to save the love of its life.

Edmund the Magnificent ft. David Bradley & Ian McKellen

By Ben Ockrent | Comedy
A once-legendary farmer takes a chance and invests his life savings in a thoroughbred piglet.

Reception

By Joe Gillette | Romance
Two strangers, trying to avoid the crowd at a wedding reception, end up making an unexpected connection.

Exit Strategy

By Travis Bible | Sci-Fi
A man in a time loop must work with his brother to prevent a catastrophic fire.

Garfield

By Georgi Bank-Davies | Romance
A young woman wakes up in a strange place, with a strange guy. Then, she start to piece together how she got there.

Partners

By Joey Ally | Romance
A couple's love life begins to slump, forcing them to reconsider the relationship and confront how intertwined they've become.

Balance

By Mark Ram | Drama
Two friends climb a mountain, connected by a rope. But when one falls, the other's life hangs in an unstable balance.



Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.