Directed by: Jon James Smith
Written by: Jon James Smith
Cast: Richard Shelton, Kathryn Leeman
Running Time: 14 Minutes
Studio: Photek Films
Release Date: TBC
In LA a man sits in his car on his phone, he tells someone he loves that he has to stay at work but we see he is actually parked outside a seedy motel. Sat behind him in the shadows, wearing a hood and brandishing a gun is his captor. The captor communicates through a tape recorder, the voice being modulated and gives the man direction. As we enter the motel room he is told, again via the tape recorder, to undress and get on the bed. The captor handcuffs him to the bed and is revealed to be a dark haired woman who takes out a gag. The man begins to complain that he ordered a blonde and wants a discount, she’s the hooker he ordered and he’s into some seriously weird role-play.
Here lies our first twist in what turns out to be a wonderfully built thriller by writer/director t Jon James Smith. Things take a sudden sinister turn for the man, later identified as ‘George’, when the dark haired woman pulls out a craft knife and begins to cut him. She again plays the tape and shows him a scrap of paper with instructions on, if he doesn’t follow these instructions, he loses his eyes. George complies and instructs his wife to empty all their bank accounts. George’s wife, Margaret, complies and we see she is already in the company of the LAPD. Calmly and collectively Detective Forbes, played by the wonderful Richard Shelton, instructs to do just as she has been told.
Over the next 8 minutes a beautifully crafted story and film unfold. Shot confidently and with an eye for flair, Director Smith never wastes a moment. His establishing shots linger just enough for us to take in our surroundings and capture the back streets and scenery of down town LA with a gritty realism and beauty. His filming style here would fit seamlessly into any modern day noir or detective drama.
Smith has surrounded himself with a group of talented actors, never falling into stereotypes and never feeling out of place. As I have mentioned before Richard Shelton is wonderful as Detective Forbes, playing with just the right amount of empathy and seriousness.
I was initially put off by Margaret, played by Kathryn Leeman, as she came across a little flat in the early scenes but by the time you reach the end of the short it is understandable why she reacts this way, her empathy seems stripped away after the realisation that her husband has been sleeping with prostitutes etc.
Stewart Dugdale provides a score that is very much in keeping with the style of the short, never being intrusive or needing to tell us how we should be feeling. It blends into the background in a comfortable way but never gets lost.
Jon James Smith has crafted a clever and gripping film that made me want to see more than the 14 minutes given. His creative team and talent should be proud of his little gem and all the recent accolades are well deserved. I look forward to Mr Smith’s future works and hope that Do Not Disturb continues in its successes.