Writer-director Robbie Bryan’s Purgy’s is not just the title of the short but also the name of the bar where it takes place. I think you know precisely what this establishment is on the name alone. The film opens with a woman (Brooke Lewis Bellas) stepping up to the bar and ordering a drink. To her surprise, serving her is a precocious 9-year-old girl (Lucianna Elisa Quinonez) making a Shirley Temple instead of the drink she requested. There’s something familiar about the girl, and the woman opens up about an accident she was in long ago.
In Purgy’s second act, an old man (Richard Riehle) approaches another bartender (Arnold Chun). The bartender reminds him of a young man he knew from ages past. The bartender’s face conjures memories of a time when the old man could have taken a stand and stood up on a bullying incident of an Asian man but instead chose to stand back as it happened.
“…could have taken a stand and stood up on a bullying incident of an Asian man…”
As you can imagine, the patrons of Purgy’s are people who may not have lived up to their fullest potential in life — either through actions of their own or by watching along the sideline. In the style of the Twilight Zone, each customer has a story to tell. Of course, they are each a morality tale intent on inspiring us to do better.
Since I’m already naming old television shows, let me add the Love Boat in that Purgy’s features characters and background actors that may be familiar to you in its cast. The obvious stand-out is Richard Riehle, whose IMDB acting credits number over 400 roles and rising. The rest of the actors may also feel familiar.
Writer/director Robbie Bryan’s production turns a simple home bar setup into a high-end establishment. The music and lighting evoke a neo-noir setting as well. Purgy’s is a simple tale about life’s long journey and may give you pause to think about where you’re at in life.
"…may give you pause to think about where you're at in life."