Punch-Drunk

By Larry Ketang and Liam White | Drama
A man's life begins to unravel when a chatty stranger disturbs his peaceful lunch.

A man named Colin sits at a crowded cafe in Marseilles, France, reading and having a coffee. He's minding his own business when he's joined by a stranger, a man named George who's an English speaker like himself.

The two begin a casual chat, both bonding over being Irish men in a foreign country -- they even are familiar with George's small hometown. But as the conversation proceeds and they find seemingly common ground, the talk takes an uneasy turn as Colin finds his life knocked off its axis.

Directed by Larry Ketang and Liam White from a script written by White, this gripping short drama has an extraordinarily simple execution. Its narrative scope is confined to a single conversation between two people in one location. Its camera setup is an elegantly composed, luminously lit single static closeup shot of Colin, held for almost the entire duration of the film.

But the minimalistic visual approach brings the preeminently skillful writing of the narrative to the fore, complete with well-paced rhythms that feel authentic and natural and an ear for subtext that proves pivotal as the story progresses. And what a narrative it turns out to be, as the conversation unfolds between Colin and George, and layers of detail unfurl.

George's story is a tragic one, told by actor Corin Silva in a mostly unseen performance that becomes increasingly powerful as the film proceeds. But the crux of the film's hypnotic power rests in actor Barry Ward's nuanced performance as Colin. The camera lingers on him for almost the entire length of his conversation with George, and Colin's reactions and dawning realization slowly build the suspense, especially as George's storytelling takes an insinuating, sly turn.

Impeccably controlled and beautifully performed, "Punch Drunk" -- which was longlisted for the BAFTA for best short film -- ends with a seemingly casual, conventional note of leave-taking. But under the surface is a sinister, ominous wallop, made all the more potent because of what is unsaid by both George and Colin. Implication is a weapon here, both in story and style, and it makes for a quietly riveting film that slowly reels in the viewer with increasing tension, only to be released into a disquieting conclusion. What happens next is left to the imagination, for Colin and the viewer -- and it's an uneasy, unsettling prospect for both.




You Might Also Like:

Iniquity

By Oliver Goodrum | Drama
A man who bullied a disabled girl tries to escape his past. Then an angry mob finds him.

Pony

By Candice Carella | Drama
A single mother leaves her young daughter with a rock musician uncle.

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.



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.