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Burton Grunzer is a driven company man who seems to be stuck behind his incompetent partner Whitman Hayes; a man who Burton believes is protected from on high since he is fumbling and inept but yet even senior staff like Alexander see him as a valuable asset that Burton is lucky to have. Burton's frustration at this situation is constant. One day a mild-mannered man comes to see Burton to inform him of a secret organization that very simply uses the power of mass wishing to bring about the death of those selected to be not worthy of living. Burton is sceptical at first but listens intently.
There is a nicely sharp edge to this corporate drama and it starts with the tension of a fumbled presentation which Burton watches with smug superiority as he watches this man who is so terrible but yet also does well in the company. This scene hooks your interest as we know Burton is a shark in this organization, keen to do well at any cost and his narration is well laid over the top, dripping with menace and distain. From here we learn a little more of the character and perhaps it is not the full story but then we head into a meeting where a dark solution is put on the table one that someone like Burton will be very interested in. Gulager's performance had been the driving force up to this point but from here we have a great turn from Picardo who is very well cast and totally holds the attention with a mix of harmlessness and sinister presence. It is this that makes the story he tells so engaging and we are really held by the film throughout.
It goes to a satisfying conclusion and, were this not a standalone short film, you could easily see this being part of the Twilight Zone or something of the like because it is an engaging yarn which is very well told. The performances from all are really good but Picardo and Gulager have the most to do. Karlak's direction is really good too, the office is full of tension and slick surfaces, making the stakes feel high. The use of music shouldn't be ignored and the score used in the opening few minutes and the closing few minutes is really dramatic and adds a lot. Overall a very satisfying and engaging short film that is well worth seeking out.
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