The Irish production “O” achieves in three minutes what too many Hollywood films never achieve in 90 or 120 minutes: a compelling, professionally-crafted story which is genuinely memorable and thoroughly original.
The film takes place at an office birthday party. While everyone is gathered with birthday wishes and candle-topped cake, an outsider in a long black trenchcoat emerges unannounced. The outsider pulls out a gun and takes aim at the birthday honoree, but the abrupt arrival of an unexpected visitor makes the shooter turn and fire, killing the visitor. It is then open season and the shooter goes about terminating everyone at the party.
Alas, a man and woman escape the melee by hiding in a supply closet. But being in such close proximity arouses an unfortunate degree of lust. The man and woman decide to make love at the worst possible moment: with the killer prowling the bloodied halls, listening for clues of witnesses.
“O” is a professional and polished achievement, setting up a shocking story and taking it to a thoroughly unexpected climax. The ending is both a jolting surprise and a wonderfully dark joke, proving that sex and violence can mix (in a weird way). If anything, this is among the year’s finest short movies.