Hotchfeld (Geoff Meed) is the head collector for bookie Sal (Richard Portnow). Intimidating in size and demeanor, with a particular talent for his duties, Hotchfeld is so good that Sal asks him to take his nephew Tommy (Donnie Jeffcoat) out to show him the ropes. Hotchfeld reluctantly agrees, and Tommy accompanies him on the day’s collections, which run the gauntlet from the tough guy who just doesn’t want to pay up to the crime boss who not only doesn’t want to pay, but has more than a few associates to make sure no one gets close enough to collect. Through it all, Hotchfeld stays on task, imparting wisdom while doing the one job he’s good at.
Barry Kneller’s short film, Hotchfeld, is gorgeous to behold, and the film really moves along at a nice pace. When it comes to any tale of crime, you know things aren’t going to be as straightforward as they seem, but the film never goes too out-of-character with the few twists it delivers, so the narrative works throughout. Geoff Meed is also highly believable as an intimidating collector, which is what makes what I’m about to say that much more frightening for my own well-being…
The accent Geoff Meed employs in this film is something you either are going to go along with or find comical, and I’ll admit I came in and out of my own appreciation of the vocal delivery. Is it Scottish? Irish? It’s a brogue from the depths of Hell, that’s for sure, but sometimes it comes off softer than perhaps Meed intended, almost like when a guy’s voice breaks during the teenage years. At best, it’s menacing. At worst, it’s reminiscent of Sarah Holcomb’s work in Caddyshack.
Overall, Hotchfeld is a tight short film that is solid across the board, and I wouldn’t have minded if this were a longer tale, so we could get more expansion upon the world and its inhabitants. Still, since it doesn’t overstay its welcome at its current running time, I’m very pleased with how it comes together as a short. Don’t you want to leave them wanting more anyway?
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