UPDATE: This rib-tickling, and brilliant, short film is now on offer via @omeleto.com and can be seen there. Mr. Christopher T. Wood has assured me that they just got reposted so if comedy is your thing, go and check this one out. It made me laugh…a lot.
Co-written by Christopher T. Wood, who also stars as the hitman in the film, and directed by Justin Rettke Time to Kill equals time to laugh as it looks at what really transpires when that “killer for hire” waits for the target to arrive. Set in what looks to be an apartment, the assassin lets himself in and sits, waiting for Shekky (Deacon Ledges) to return home and be “hit.”
After watching two new comedies on offer, one from ABC Family and the other from HULU, it is clear that they could take lessons from Wood on writing, along with his co-writers, Scott Frank and Justin Rettke, and on how to perform in a comedy. Wood is hysterically funny as the hitman who is called, while he waits impatiently, by his mother, “I do so have friends,” and a few other people (including what sounds like a prospective girlfriend).
The juxtaposition of the professional killer doing all the things anyone else would do while waiting makes this work beautifully. Doing Tai Chi, straightening pictures, fixing a door; with a sexual lubricant called “Glide,” along with a number of other “things people do when bored.”
Time to Kill proves that hitmen are: lonely, have trouble making friends, have mother’s who worry, and are unhappy with their job. The editing in this short film is spot on, there is a sight gag towards the end of the film that works brilliantly, and Wood just kills it as the “normal” assassin.
Produced by Cindy Hong, Time to Kill has won two awards on the film festival circuit; winning the Abbot Award at the Venice Film Festival in 2014 and the Award for Achievement in International Filmmaking at the 2014 SoCal Independent Film Festival. It was also nominated for the SoCal IFF Award in the Best Cinematography category. DP Michael Marius Pessah does an excellent job framing this comedic masterpiece which goes a long way to helping the whole process come together to sell the gag.
From the moment the impeccably dressed hitman enters, against a backdrop of suspenseful music, the viewer knows this is going to be good. As Wood’s character scans the room, taking in its rubbish filled appearance and the articles scattered across the floor and bed, the music stutters and slows, losing that professional killer feel.
Using his silencer, that he just put on his gun, to move two wrappers from a chair, the hitman settles in to wait for his victim to arrive. As the clock moves forward the hitman’s time is taken up with a series of mundane and funny moments.
At a runtime of 10 minutes the only disappointing thing about Time to Kill is that by the time the film ends, one really wants to see more of this character. A great, rib tickling experience that proves great comedy is not dead, or doomed to be badly done by people who do not understand it. Christopher T. Wood and co have come up with a winner here and hopefully they will not take too long to make another foray into the world of cinematic comedy.
5 out of 5 stars for an epic comedic win.