A tiny piece of advice from out of nowhere makes a huge difference in Jonathan E. Levy’s short film Unleashed. Nate (Nicholas Feitel) is a man lacking the self-confidence to jump-start his acting career…much less his personal life. The short opens with Nate delivering his one only line as a background player in a movie production, only to have that one line taken away from him. While at craft services, a deflated Nate gets some much-needed advice from the film’s star, Mr. Washington (Wesli Spencer).
Later that day, Nate is making money walking a dog, Diesel, and runs into Casey (Swann Gruen). Casey is furious that Nate got him fired for inappropriate dog walking behavior. Sensing weakness in Nate, Casey verbally rips Nate a new one. Then at the local comedy club, Nate engages in small talk with club bartender Shelley (Claire Tyers). Nate has a crush on Shelley. Is this the moment Nate’s life changes for the better? Look Nate is just one of those guys with big dreams, but fear keeps him from getting what he dreams of.
Unleashed adeptly tells the story of the underdog coming into his own. As the lead character Nate, Nicholas Feitel is excellent as the lovable sad sack finding the right tone, so he doesn’t come off as cartoonish. Most importantly, Feitel gives Nate enough sympathy (and awkwardness) for us to care about his ultimate fate. We’ve all been in Nate’s shoes at some point in our life. Swann Gruen also plays a good bully. While the overall story is good, it’s not exactly groundbreaking, and the ending is relatively predictable. Good, not great…but good nonetheless.
"…the story of the underdog coming into his own."