Starring: David Sackal, Joanna Donofrio
Synopsis: Please Punish Me is a comedic 15 minute short film about a businessman who is overly blessed to the point that he seeks to be punished for his curse.
We often hear people complaining when things just don’t seem to be going their way. In Chris Esper’s short film, Please Punish Me, the protagonist complains about an opposing problem. This businessman seems to be ridiculously lucky, to the point that he feels guilty about the opportunities that his luck is taking away from more deserving people.
The settings and scenes are very well done, particularly the surreal feeling during the scene in which the businessman is given a promotion at his workplace. Actor David Sackal, who plays the businessman, has a very difficult job. He has to play that one dude who complains about his good fortune – a role that’s akin to that super skinny girl who’s always whining that she’s so fat. It’s quite impressive that Sackal manages to look genuinely depressed, as he receives a promotion that he’s undeserving of. His superb acting in this regard certainly adds to the overall black comedic vibe of the short film. Sackal is joined by Joanna Donofrio, who’s also a very talented member of the cast and who isn’t afforded nearly enough screentime.
This leads to my biggest criticism of the film: it feels too short. Obviously, it’s a short film, but the ending of it leaves me wanting more. Also, the overall feeling of the film is very rushed, and an interesting storyline that could have been developed into a meaningful one is lost in the lack of time. However, the outcome does contribute to the dark humor, so there’s much to be said for that.
Overall, Chris Esper shows expertise as a director, and Please Punish Me is an entertaining, thoughtful short film worth anyone’s 15 minutes.