While others find fear in the destructive nature of a tornado, Bonnie Blue (Mary Birdsong) strangely finds peace and freedom. When Bonnie’s life is in chaos, a tornado becomes her pathway of escape in Gretl Claggett’s Stormchaser.
Bonnie is a new sales associate of “Impact Resistant Shingles,” and she’s looking to score that elusive first sale. Her boss’, Flip Smyth (Stephen Plunkett), aggressive sales and management style puts Blake from Glengarry Glen Ross to shame. Sales meetings open with chants of “Flip the Switch!” When a customer complains about the quality of their product, Flip snaps back with “buyers are liars.”
“…she’s looking to score that elusive first sale.”
Flip motivates Bonnie with misogynistic insults, aggressive interruptions, and examples of persuasive yet unethical practices. You fail because you’re not man enough to succeed. His admonishment works and Bonnie closes her first sale, but at what cost?
Claggett effectively creates tornado-like conditions for Bonnie in her professional life. Plunket is almost too good as the aggressive boss and builds anxiety in not only Bonnie but also us, the audience. This tense progression of events leads to a calm yet devasting result in the end. Performance-wise, Mary Birdsong strikes the right tone of Bonnie’s emotional journey and understands her character’s arc to a tee.
I particularly like how Claggett uses the various facets of a storm to describe her lead Bonnie’s life and growth. Short films offer filmmakers practical ways to play around with themes and make meaningful connections with life and nature. In the end, Stormchaser is an example of compelling short film storytelling.
"…compelling short film storytelling."