Please Hold Image

Please Hold

By Alan Ng | January 13, 2022

It’s so damn clever! Levin Menekse and K.D. Dávila’s Please Hold takes place in the not-so-distant future, where all of our essential services are automated, including our justice system. The short film tells the fateful story of Mateo (Erick Lopez), a guy just walking down the street when he receives a message on his phone that he’s under arrest. Before he can blink, a police drone flies in and demands that Mateo put on a pair of handcuffs, then it escorts him to the police station.

Mateo’s first order of business is to follow the direction on the touch screen in his corporate-sponsored jail cell. Mateo must then click “agree” to an extended terms-of-service agreement and then scroll through a long video playlist of approved lawyers. If you thought trying to get a hold of a live human was hard enough for your Amazon order, try getting a hold of one when asked to correctly enter a plea for a crime you didn’t commit.

“Mateo’s first order of business is to follow the direction on the touch screen in his corporate-sponsored jail cell.”

Please Hold is clever as hell combining our frustrations with automated service centers (I just spent twenty minutes to pay my frickin’ cellphone bill) and a justice system that is more concerned about handing out life-changing plea deals over seeking real “justice.” Mateo is pushed to his limits as he moves from screen to screen, suckered into an overpriced phone call with his parents and finding a way to cover the high cost of proving one’s innocence (i.e., finding a lawyer).

Co-writers Menekse and Dávila, who also directed, show mastery over storytelling and comedy throughout Please Hold. I couldn’t help but feel sympathy and frustration over the lead’s plight, and Erick Lopez gives all the perfect facial expressions to pull it off. The story nails every frustration we have with help centers and a system that would instead put innocent people in jail out of political convenience. I found myself screaming, “Don’t do it!” out loud when Mateo might possibly give in and say, “Guilty.” This is about as flawless as a short film narrative gets.

Please Hold (2020)

Directed: K.D. Dávila

Written: Levin Menekse, K.D. Dávila

Starring: Erick Lopez, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

Please Hold Image

"…nails every frustration we have with help centers and a system that would instead put innocent people in jail..."

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