“We’re all going to die,” warns Brian Sostek at the beginning of “Ed”, Justin Chinn’s highly entertaining rumination on human fortitude, romantic love and deadly flu viruses, “one day the air we breathe is going to kill us all.” Sostek, a talented actor who reminds one at times of a young Woody Allen, stars as the short’s title character, an ultra-compulsive phobic who never leaves home without his antibacterial spray and face mask and sees new pandemics around every corner.
A dweeby library worker who delivers weekly lectures on the invisible dangers that surround us, Ed attracts the attention of a female employee who admits to being fascinated by his neurotic world view and sharing his fondness for doom trivia. Mykle McCoslin’s Nina is a wonderful concoction. Part babe, part hospital-strength oddball, she gradually gets Ed to lower his defenses and even ask her out by seducing him with sweet nothings such as “Every year 100 people choke to death on ball point pens,” “Fifty people a year drown in their bathtub” and “Out of control cars often crash into phone booths. Over 1000 people die from it every year.” It’s love at first quirk.
The writing, performances and direction are dandy for a student production. The climactic date, on the other hand, proves disastrous. As to whether or not his offbeat characters will make a love connection, Chinn keeps the viewer in suspense until the film’s final moment. That he’s a talent from whom we can expect fine things in the future, however, is clear from its very first.