Directed by: #FilipposTsapekis
Short Film Review by #ChrisBuick
We can all relate to feeling tired from time to time, whether its from working more hours than we should, too many late nights out or simply burning the candle at both ends. But fatigue can end up impacting our mood, our health, our concentration and in some cases, can even lead to more dire consequences.
Short film 9 to 5 from Greek filmmaker Filippos Tsapekis introduces us to a society where tiredness is not just illegal, but comes with uniquely severe punishments. When a young lawyer on his way home after working late one night is suddenly pulled over by authorities, he is about to find that not getting enough sleep is about to become the least of his problems.
Quite far removed from the Dolly Parton feature of the same name you might say.
It’s easy to see why this brilliant short film has managed to bag itself a handful of awards. Its masterfully executed story is refreshingly original (Tsapekis and co-writer Tsoumpa in fact picked up Best Original Story at the New York Film Awards and Top Shorts Online Film Festival monthly competitions). Always careful to never give away any more than it needs to, the film holds its cards very close to its chest all the way through, giving us little to go on but as a result doesn’t bloat itself with unnecessary explanations and in fact only adds to the fascination. By allowing us to piece it all together as we go, the film doesn't seem to talk down to its audience and despite its high-concept dystopian premise, there is nothing gimmicky about this film, managing brilliantly to keep itself grounded.
Less is more is certainly the theme here. Where other films might try and pack as much as they can into a similar runtime, 9 to 5 manages to resist that temptation, Having just a few well-rounded characters in a simple setting allows the film the chance to slowly unravel itself and thus creates a concise and intriguing world for us to visit even if just for a short time, and a lot of credit must go to award winning director Tsapekis for focusing on the importance of story telling rather than trying to show off with all kinds of bells and whistles. That being said, the film still looks fantastic, the cinematography slick and stylish from beginning to end.
While the film is definitely solid at its core story-wise as well as visually, it certainly helps as well that Tsapekis has a stellar cast to top it all off. Papadopoulos as our lawyer character (again, winning awards for Best Actor at the aforementioned NYFA) gives us an immediate sense of the seriousness of his situation, we can really see his inner panic even while trying to play it cool and quick talk his way out this sticky situation. But his counterparts on the other side of the law are more than a match. Hugely intimidating as the lead officer, Karvouni takes no prisoners or any of the lawyers nonsense in executing her duty and Barkas, who plays the assistant has little if anything to say, but is on point nonetheless to helps round off this incredibly tense affair.
Beautifully shot, well-written and entertaining to watch, 9 to 5 might leave you with a a few questions at the end, but in all honestly you’ll feel perfectly content having the rest to figure out for yourself.