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By Bob Westal | April 10, 2002

Bill (J.D. Roberto) is a man on the move, but where is he going?
Up at the crack of dawn, this hard-driving advertising executive is simultaneously talking on a cell phone headset, receiving pages and in-car faxes, and taking calls on another cell phone — all so he can more quickly harangue and glad hand coworkers and clients. He’s the sort of guy who is so high on the very idea of intense busyness that he answers the phone with an impatient “go!” He’s so preoccupied that he doesn’t realize that he’s giving out contradictory instructions to underlings and angering overseas clients. He even needs a pager message to tell him when it’s time for a bagel.
Bill doesn’t just use gadgets, he’s little more than a success machine himself. The question is, what will happen when all the success ends and the mechanized distraction stops?
Written by Josh Olson and directed by Steven L. Austin, “Moment of Silence” is a simple but slick satirical fable for our overly-wired, excessively mediated times. Every day we’re all using a host of labor saving and communication devices, yet many of us are working more and communicating less than ever before. Maybe it’s because we have to support our addiction to expensive consumer products, or maybe it’s because, if we stopped long enough to think, we might pause to consider the emptiness of our lives and go insane.
Actor J.D. Roberto deserves credit for humorously assaying the central role. The film lives and dies by this essentially unlikable character and Roberto keeps the story energetically pumping along by staying in touch with what’s left of Bill’s humanity.
Director Austin, cinematographer M. David Mullen and production designer Lee Berg also deserve a special nod for creating an utterly believable, coldly lush and appropriately sinister world — and for appropriately handling a truly massive amount of product placement. In less skilled hands, the results could have easily looked like an explosion at the Sharper Image warehouse.

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