Recently fired and broken up with his girlfriend, Anthony (Daniel Hall) goes to confront his upstairs neighbor over his loud music. Instead of engaging in a shouting match, Mosier (Derege Harding) invites him in to the apartment, and after hearing Anthony’s sob story, offers Anthony a huge chunk of cash to deliver a suitcase, under specific conditions and instructions, not the least of which being that Anthony use the name of “Barry Miller.” Anthony accepts, before finding out his car has been towed. Left with no other options, he calls his ex-girlfriend Amber (Kiki Warren) to drive him out to complete the task.
C. Alec Rossel’s Barry Miller is a unique tale wrapped in a familiar coating. Much like Amber mentions during the job, there must be something criminal going on here, a drug deal or the like. The truth, which I won’t reveal here, is much more interesting, and not remotely hinted at.
I guess some would say there’s a twist, but since we don’t know exactly what is going on, it’s not so much a twist as a natural reveal of the plot. The twist moment may be internal, as the familiarity makes us think we know what’s going on, and where it’s all heading, when in truth the film hasn’t really led us to those conclusions at all. We get the answer to a mystery we thought we solved already.
So, yeah, I really enjoyed Barry Miller. I enjoyed that it turned the familiar on its ear, and I like it when a film delivers something different with commonly accepted narrative developments. It’d be easy for the story to play out exactly like almost every other story with similar concepts does, but it’d hardly be memorable that way.
It also helps that everyone in the film can act. Whether or not everyone is likeable as a character, they all capture your attention. If the story expanded to include the lead-in to the short for all the major characters, or gave more insight into what happens after, I’d be interested enough to find out more. Then again, the mystery is what makes this short hit as well as it does, so getting every question answered might be asking for too much of a good thing.
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