Time to Kill

By Justin Rettke | Comedy
A hitman 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:

Sylvia

By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.

Avarya

By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...

Ernie

By Hadley Hillel | Drama
A man's suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling. Then he befriends the boy upstairs.

Dig Your Own Grave

By Kirk Larsen | Comedy
A man is forced to dig his own grave in the desert. But the ground is hard.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Welcome to Iron Knob

By Dave Wade | Comedy
A young boy accidentally shoots a stranger and the town tries to cover it up.

CODA

By Erika Davis-Marsh | Romance
A young dancer falls for a deaf guy, then tries to find her place in the world.

Toni With an I

By Marco Alessi | Drama
An awkward girl doesn't fit in at school. Then the Internet comes to save her.

The Things You Think I’m Thinking

By Sherren Lee | Drama
A burn-survivor goes on his first date after his accident.

Into the Silent Sea

By Andrej Landin | Sci-Fi
A Soviet cosmonaut who is stranded in space discovers a voice in the distance.

Infinite ft. George MacKay

By Connor O’Hara | Drama
A terminally-ill man has a plan to 'live on' and gets his friends to help.



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.