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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Fierce Psychological thriller

Author: Slodrifter from United States
19 November 2011

Ever hated somebody so much that you wanted them dead? It is the basic idea that makes "The Candidate" so undeniably interesting. This rich, multi-layered short film plays with the basic morality battles that we find ourselves dealing with every day. The hate that the main character feels is thick and delicious. We allow ourselves to like this man because we've been there too! We want him to succeed because he's worked hard and he deserves to win. And yet, shouldn't we feel bad?

This man represents those vices that we so ardently profess to abhor! He is greedy, sneaky, underhanded, conniving, vicious (just look at the slow motion shot of him scream as his cheeks become the fierce jowls of a voracious predator). We should see this man in action and care nothing for him, but then again, there but for the grace of God, go I.

This is one of those films which leaves you craving more, and I hope we get it one day. Director David Karlak gives us a delicious taste of a dark world. It just happens to be set in an office!

My advice? Go find it, watch it, savor it. It's good filmmaking.

Believe me. Once you've tasted it, you'll realize what you've been missing.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Grippingly well-crafted

Author: effstops from United States
7 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've had the privilege of seeing "The Candidate" on several occasions now, and it seriously blows me away every time. I'm not really one for hyperbole, but I can't help but shower this film with praise. It's probably one of the best short films I've seen. When you see it on the big screen, it's honestly hard to believe you're watching a student film.

Before I get too far I should disclose that I consider the director, David Karlak, a good friend. That must somehow be coloring my opinion. But the first time I saw "The Candidate", I went slack-jawed for like 15 minutes.

I don't know why I like it so much, honestly. I love twists, first of all. I love this genre. But this film totally 'got' me. It's so seductive. It hooked me in and led me delicately along and spit me out at the end with my mind reeling at the implications.

It's an extremely well-crafted film where everything just *works*. The stylized writing, nuanced performances, beautiful cinematography... the technical quality of the film is difficult to criticize. But it's really the handling of the story that deserves the most praise. The film is well-paced, well-structured, gets your imagination going.... and the twist is masterfully executed.

I look forward to seeing how this film fares in competition. To me, this is a pretty astonishing first directorial effort -- I can't wait to watch from the sidelines as David steps into what I'm sure will be an impressive career.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Satisfyingly tense story with a strong conclusion

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
21 February 2014

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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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Show Don't Tell

Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
2 March 2014

THE CANDIDATE seems to have garnered a lot of praise on this page being a dark exploration of human nature set against the background of corporate capitalism . I'm being extremely contrarian when I say wasn't all that impressed by it . It's by no means dreadful but as Bob said it's very much like one of those stories you might have seen in THE TWILIGHT ZONE or in an American version of TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED

David Karlak uses an all too obvious directorial technique in order to tell the story , one of constant incidental music that is both intrusive and manipulative which outlasts its welcome . He also uses a bit too much close up in order try and get a sense of mounting tension . That said one thing that is impressive from a technical viewpoint is the editing especially at the end as the last scenes are cut with the titles .

The story itself revolves around the denouement where the rug is well and truly pulled out from the audiences feet and I wasn't able to second guess the twist at the end , but sadly the story only exists because of the twist . It's interesting that the audience will no doubt be on the side of Burton since most of us will be relatively low on the work ladder and hold grudges against those higher up . This is the problem Burton is shown to do nothing to make himself any enemies and the narrative suffers from a lack of show don't tell . As it stands THE CANDIDATE is okay but never really a candidate for classic short film

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