DANCES WITH FILMS 2021 REVIEW! The legendary acting coach Sanford Meisner once said, “to reach every person in the audience, it’s not about being bigger, it’s about going deeper.” But this, of course, doesn’t come easy, even to the best actors. It takes almost superhuman courage and openness to dredge up something that truthful and often painful from deep within oneself and then project it outward to an audience. How much pressure does it take to mold a fledgling performer into someone capable of reaching that state of pure, almost masochistic emotional honesty?
That’s the central question of producers/co-writer/co-directors/editors Enzo Cellucci and Ash McNair’s darkly comedic, stress-inducing short film Class, which centers on an acting teacher that even Meisner himself might have told to take things down a few notches. Max (Cellucci) is an apprehensive new student of a small-group acting class presided over by the guru-like Adam (David Krumholtz). “Adam changed my life,” one of Max’s more experienced classmates (Alina Carson) gushes, anticipating the reveal of this worshiped teacher in all his resplendent glory.
“…an apprehensive new student of a small-group acting class presided over by the guru-like Adam.”
When that reveal soon comes, however, it’s a laugh rather than the lump-in-throat moment we’re expecting. Dressed in what looks like silk pajamas topped off with a blazer, Adam immediately compares himself to the artist Michelangelo in his opening remarks to the class. The faux gravitas of his quasi-British accent is the icing on the pretentious cake. You wonder, at first, if his enraptured students are suffering from some mass delusion of his brilliance. Max seems to think so.
At any rate, Krumholtz’s performance throughout Class is mesmerizing right off the rip, and while Adam is frequently hilarious to observe, there’s too much menace to the character to write him off as merely a joke. Imagine a (mostly) less belligerent, more theatrical version of J.K. Simmons’ character from Whiplash, and you’re part of the way there, but Adam is altogether weirder, more messianic, and much harder to pin down than that.
"…takes almost superhuman courage and openness to dredge up something that truthful and often painful..."