Written & Directed by Elias Plagianos
Starring John Behlmann, Linda Hamilton, William Sadler, Jackie Martling, Tasie Lawrence, Josh Burrow, Lukas Hassel, Fiona Hardingham, Joe Holt, Caitlin Mehner, Lindsay Torrey, Diana Durango
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
A comedic and cynical journey into the world of paparazzi, fashion, and art, short film Shoot Me Nicely, written and directed by Elias Plagianos, is aesthetically supercharged and thematically interesting, but ultimately lacks coherence and bite.
The central character is Sean Wheeler (John Behlmann), a photographer whose life is hitting some pretty hefty bumps, as his fall from stardom includes losing his amazing job and beautiful girlfriend (Fiona Hardingham). To try and pay the bills, Sean has to ignore his passion for art and take to snapping shots of celebrities in compromising situations, selling the fruits of his efforts to the highest bidder regardless of the damage it could cause to his unwitting model’s life. One such subject (William Sadler), a popular TV host, does not take kindly to his picture being taken in an alley, especially when it reveals a...shortcoming of sorts, and vows revenge on Sean.
With a fairly loose plot and mild humour, Shoot Me Nicely lacks the sting it needed to be remarkable. The central character is quite plain and devoid of charisma, and the numerous side characters feel stuffed in without any real reason to be there, such as a bartender, Sean’s landlord, the new boyfriend of his ex, Sean’s agent, and some others. The casting felt like a filmmaking debt that needed to be paid to friends in the industry. All this overcrowding results in the story feeling flatter than a polaroid picture and just as throwaway.
There are some important plus points to highlight though, the first of which is Sadler’s performance. His scene with Sean, whereby he promises to refund the injustice done to him, is brilliantly theatrical and menacing. The dialogue in that scene also captured some of the themes of the film as a whole, which were another commendable aspect. The lengths that Sean goes to in order to raise himself from the bottom of the pile are despicable and his morality is a stark indication of the broken community in which he inhabits, which exists primarily on the winning of some and the losing of others. To say Shoot Me Nicely is anywhere near Nightcrawler would be outrageous, but there are some definite parallels to be drawn.
Another enjoyable scene happens between Sean and Vanessa (Tasie Lawrence) which takes place in a restaurant. Their flirting and chemistry, whilst fleeting, provided a decent chance for Sean’s character to emerge for the viewer.
The visuals are well framed and delivered in wonderful clarity, showing a high production value which some audiences will certainly appreciate. With a bit of harsh editing and more of a focus on the storyline and character development, there is a better film in Shoot Me Nicely and I would be interested to see Plagianos turn his attention to something with a bit more meat and less gloss.
Watch the official Movie Trailer for Shoot Me Nicely below...