Politics is a brutal game. The stakes are high, but if you sell your soul, you have a chance of winning. Director/co-writer Joseph Charafi’s political thriller short, The Inside Job, shows us how the sausage is made in D.C. power politics.
Thomas Wright (Zach Chyz) is a Washington deputy assistant attorney general going after a corrupt businesswoman named Natile Dormer (Kathleen Randazzo) for insider trading. His tactics are brutal as federal agents hold Dormer’s husband as “collateral” for her influence peddling. Thomas plans to use Natile’s takedown to bolster his run for U.S. Senate.
Though the pieces are in place, the lawyer’s personal and professional life are hanging by a tenuous thread. His wife, Samantha (Chloe Brown), is pregnant and alone due to Thomas’ unrelenting work schedule. At work, his team is uncomfortable with his investigation tactics. Staying on top will not be easy, and a single moment of moral or ethical weakness will take Thomas down. In walks femme fatale Scarlett (Stephanie Marie Lewis).
“…a Washington deputy assistant attorney general going after a corrupt businesswoman…”
Regarding political stories, The Inside Job is going for the suspense thriller vibe. Thomas and Natile are engaged in a high-stakes power poker game; everyone else is the pawns and pieces doing their bidding. The main character makes an extortion play, and Natile counters with blackmail. Like many indie thrillers, character weaknesses are associated with a lack of money and resources, which is valid. The narrative and characterizations are what stand out as writers Charafi and Zach Chyz define Thomas as a not-so-sympathetic protagonist who could lose everything if he can’t beat Natile.
Charafi makes good use of what he has available in terms of sets, music, B-roll transitions, and cast. The only real weakness is the cinematography. The majority of the setups are pretty standard medium and close-up shots. In thrillers, you’ve got to think outside the box a bit and find ways of building suspense with the camera. Often this is done with movements that follow the action or close-up angles to highlight tension and anxiety.
Running at just over fifteen minutes, The Inside Job packs quite a punch, and quite frankly, I’d like to see this story expanded and continued.
"…packs quite a punch..."