Sometimes, the problem with short films is that they address the same issue over and over again ad nauseam. Jordan K. Paul’s Animals takes a familiar and controversial subject. However, the writer-director gives us a fresh, somewhat unexpected, take.
Jordan (David McClain Jr.) has recently moved from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Los Angeles. His roommate, Tyler (Vinney Pugliese), decides to take him on a bike ride through the city in the middle of the night. As the pair are about to head home, they are confronted by L.A.P.D. Officer Miller (Dallis Seeker). Jordan is about to experience what it’s like to be Black in America. When Officer Miller tells the boys to sit on the curb with their legs crossed, Tyler confronts the officer and is quickly subdued. When veteran Officer Philips (Colin Ward) arrives as backup, Jordan is taught another “lesson” about being Black in America.
“Jordan is about to experience what it’s like to be Black in America.”
I’ll be honest. Once the basic premise began to unfold, I thought to myself, “Whelp, here we go.” Having grown up in L.A. all my life, I’m very familiar with the police department’s sordid past. This is where Animals take a different turn. Jordan was taught to be compliant with law enforcement, while Tyler dared to take on the system. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a pro-police story. Seeing Jordan as no threat, the older Officer Philips decides to teach Jordan about the streets, which is chilling and makes an essential statement about one aspect of race relations today.
Jordan K. Paul’s Animals does precisely what I want in a short film: make me think. Whether I agree or not, challenge my assumptions and opinions. As Jordan, David McClain Jr. gives a fantastic performance, and it’s all in his body language.
For more information about Animals, visit Jordan K. Paul’s official website.
"…Whether I agree or not, challenge my assumptions and opinions."