With its marvelously intriguing premise and engaging performances, I was 100% on board with the short film Buy In. Then it ended out of nowhere and with no payoff. This movie is all setup and no resolution. The fact that the film is so inconclusive is maddening, given its terrific prelude.
Initially, it’s not clear why Marc (Marshall Taylor Thurman) is knocking on doors in a nameless and bleak hotel. Is this man selling something? Does he work for the hotel in some capacity? Dressed in a tailored black suit and with his clean-cut good looks, one could be forgiven for assuming Marc is perhaps a missionary espousing the word of God door-to-door.
“…Marc is selling a spectacularly shady concierge service to frequent travelers such as Roger.”
Marc gets a bite when he knocks on the door of a mousy guy named Roger (Colin Hinckley). It turns out Marc is selling a spectacularly shady concierge service to frequent travelers such as Roger. The service promises that for a one-time fee (red flag!), Roger can be relieved of ever having to pack shaving cream, shampoo, or other sundries for the rest of his traveling life.
Roger enthusiastically welcomes Marc into his hotel room to hear his sales pitch. Roger, however, has an unmistakable air of desperation surrounding him that makes one wonder if he is simply a lonely introvert grabbing any morsel of human interaction he can get.
Director Bri Castellini telegraphs some seriously homoerotic undertones in both the dialogue and Marc and Roger’s body language as they sit across from each other in the hotel room. “Traveling for you is a great way to make new friends, like me,” Marc says with a lilt in his eyebrow as he swiftly moves to take a seat next to the awkward Roger. More than once, Roger discreetly glances over at his bed, and for a moment it appears Buy In was on its way to becoming an investigation into male prostitution.
"…nothing more than a big ol' cinematic tease."