In writer-director Russell Goldman’s short film Closing Time, a group of friends gather for an unexpected reunion. Arriving late to said reunion that he arranged, Trent (Caleb Foote) carries in a large amount of alcohol for the occasion. In attendance are his estranged college buddies Teresa (Samantha Bartow), Garland (Demi Adejuyibge), Kerry (Alyssa Limperis), and Joy (Terry Hu).
It appears that only Trent knows why he gathered everyone together. During a game of Jenga giant-size edition, past events resurface, which include a heated argument with Joy. A severe car accident involving Trent, which the others witnessed, is also recounted. As the gloves come off, the real reason for the meeting becomes clear, or not, as Trent spiked everyone’s drinks.
“During a game of Jenga giant-size edition, past events resurface…”
One of the themes behind Closing Time is the idea of going back into the past as a way of undoing the events that tore a friendship or relationship apart. The film relies on interactions between these friends to work its way to the final end. Foote’s performance as Trent ties these relationships together, and he keeps you off balance from the start. His facial expressions denote an air of suspicion as Trent shifts from friendly to calculated with every interaction.
Closing Time is a mystery that begins on a suspicious note and, over time, turns into a sci-fi thriller. Goldman excellently carries us through his mystery revealing certain surprises along the way. The final revelations are haunting and very sci-fi, and it all ends in a Hitchcockian fashion. Its only weakness is the short runtime, which makes the plot feel a bit rushed, but it’s simply a matter of preference for me. I like a story that breathes a bit.
For more information about Closing Time, visit Russell Godman’s official website.
"…excellently carries us through his mystery revealing certain surprises..."