It’s arguably the hottest day of the year in Brooklyn, NY, and Steve (Matt Gaetano Levin) and Harold (Stuart Green) are waiting for a barber shop to open. Harold is more than a little nonplussed about the late arrival of the barber, who may or may not be all that good to begin with, and Steve is second-guessing their wait too, even though it was his idea. The sun-drenched conversation eventually reveals Steve’s true motivations for waiting for this particular barber, however.
Christopher Chan Roberson’s short film Waiting for the Cut rolls out like a one-act play as our two characters banter back and forth under the abuse of the Summer heat in the city. Whether universal truths about humanity are shared or discovered is debatable, but the conversation is entertaining enough to pull the short through its almost twelve minutes of run time.
That said, however, it could be shorter. Certain elements are drawn out for dramatic effect via the edit, and I don’t think they necessarily serve the potential power of the tale. A slow motion drag on a cigarette may seem dramatic, but in light of what has come before and after, it also feels gratuitously stretched out. If the film wants us to feel an uncomfortable wait at times, as our characters wait, then it succeeds in that regard.
Additionally, the image is often overexposed and there is a lack of consistent color and tone between edits. In other words, this could’ve undergone some color correction, even if it’s just the most rudimentary of attempts. Regarding the overexposure of the image, I do see that it could be intentional, considering the main concept being that these men are suffering under the intense heat of the sun and, well, the sun is bright and that leads to overexposure. Still, if the effect is intentional, while I understand it, it doesn’t make for a good-looking image.
In the end, the success or failure of Waiting for the Cut rests on the shoulders of the two leads’ performances, and whether what they’re saying holds any interest or resonance for the audience. For me, it was like eavesdropping on a conversation that had its moments but, if I too were out there on the street in that implied heat, I wouldn’t have stuck around all that long. It wasn’t that interesting a conversation. But, for the purposes of a short film (that could be shorter), it works well enough.
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