A Flock of Seagulls’ most well known song is probably “I Ran.” Its very catchy chorus repeats the lines, “and I ran/I ran so far away/I just ran/I ran all night and day/I couldn’t get away.” These lyrics would make the perfect mantra for Ben Cross (Sean Souza), one of two main characters in Clayton Allis’s short film “Run.” Allis combines conceptual elements from the WB show “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment” and Tom Tykwer’s film Run Lola Run (1998) to create a very amusing commentary on the infiltration of technology in people’s lives.
In his TV show, Kennedy pulls a candid-camera routine on pre-selected, unsuspecting individuals. While the person who’s been ‘X’d’ might get a little upset, Kennedy’s antics are harmless. “Run” also features a butt-of-the-joke, but Allis’s film takes messing with people’s minds to another dimension. “Run” plays like a videogame (no pun intended). The short starts with an electronically altered voice identifying itself as Gdog32, the host of the game, and welcomes the audience to another round. Gdog32 then introduces the viewer to Ben, the unfortunate fellow who soon realizes he is going to become an involuntary participant. Threatening to harm Ben’s ex-wife and child if he doesn’t reach them in fifteen minutes, Gdog32 gets Ben to run across New York City in a race against time. To spice things up, Gdog32 makes Ben dance on the sidewalk, hold a woman’s cowboy hat hostage, and perform other embarrassing tasks.
In an article that he wrote for the New York Times (May 23, 2003), Allis discusses the discernible ideology behind his film, and also the “reason” for it. He explains that “[he] was just being practical,” and “wanted to tell a story… that [he] could shoot with [a] digital camera.” Allis emphasizes the “surveillance camera” aesthetic that is common in black and white DV films, and incorporates the illusion of voyeurism into the story. The result of Allis’s labor is pragmatism that blends into inventive profundity.