A Killer of Men full movie review - Almost too big for a short film; very high production values but not enough space for characters
If you saw 5 minutes of this as a clip without context, you may not believe that this is "only" a short film ("only" not being the way I would see it, but many still view short films as somehow the preserve of those on their way up, or their way down).
The reason for this is that the film feels like a very much bigger affair by virtue of how strong its production values are across the board. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic America, which it must be said is a very common setting for short films, but not one where it is always done well. In this case the film looks the part from the bigger location in the Nevada desert, down to smaller touches in set design, costumes and such ? I was once a big player of the Fallout games, with its immersive destroyed world of survivors, and this short film did a remarkably good job of delivering a similar feel.
It also has a violent, dark heart (mostly) which I found engaging and satisfying, but the nature of the running time and the ambition of the piece does mean we have very little time for characters, relationship dynamics, and motivations to be established. This does hurt the film and ultimately you don't really care too much about anyone, nor do the villains really have a presence beyond that of their physicality. The repeated catchphrase (kindness etc) starts to feel a bit clunky after a while since it is said in an emotional void for the viewer, and while it remains viscerally and visually engaging, there was certainly a lot of gaps on the more base level of story-telling.
I read online that this film is currently looking to expand into a possible feature, which if they can deliver as they did here, but use that time to really expand the world and characters then, although perhaps familiar as a genre and idea, it would make a pretty strong proposal.