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Daddy Issues

average rating is 4 out of 5


Chris Buick


Posted on:

May 15, 2023

Film Reviews
Daddy Issues
Directed by:
Matt Campanella, Stephanie Chloé Hepner
Written by:
Matt Campanella
Matt Campanella, David Kelsey, Milan Anderson, Maria Carrozza

A young and aspiring dominatrix Oliver (Matt Campanella), still going through on-the-job training, gears himself up in front the mirror ahead of his next client. Finally raring to go with tools of the trade in hand, Oliver soon realises that this particular client (David Kelsey) isn’t quite what, or rather who he expected. Or wanted.


While the character of Oliver may himself claim to be a “multipotentialite”, actor, writer and director Matt Campanella can certainly attest to being a bona-fide triple-threat.  An obviously talented filmmaker, Campanella not only shows a natural knack for his craft but a passion as well, this guy not only has the comedic chops but the dramatic range both behind the camera and in front of it, those fortunate enough to have seen his other works such as touching drama Kaleidoscope (an equally accomplished and well-rounded short) can attest to this.


But Daddy Issues sees Campanella create his shortest running film to date, and penning a script that can not only get the core essentials of story across but provide layers in such a short space of time as four minutes is no mean feat for any filmmaker. It might all be over just a bit too soon, but Daddy Issues certainly delivers on a script that is for the most part as tight as it is witty and nuanced.


Humour and intensity both find equal footing here, a testament not only to Campanella's effective writing, but also to the performances of the two leads. The natural dynamic between Campanella’s Oliver and Kelsey’s William allow the awkwardness of the narrative to amuse as intended without descending into any usual pitfalls that might lead to cringe, their facial expressions saying a thousand words and each showing they can move through the gears with ease, which when combined with such well-written dialogue means Daddy Issues can take the idea of an awkward family dynamic and make a very uncomfortable scenario a very comfortable, enjoying and funny watch. Special mention as well must go to Milan Anderson’s one word moment that she nails with aplomb.


But the good work doesn’t stop there. The direction and cinematography, as well as some very astute editing choices, are all used intelligently to help punctuate those aforementioned moments of humour and dramatics to make them land with maximum effect, and the whole thing is rounded off nicely with a really striking aesthetic from start to finish not to mention a great closing shot.


Due to land at the Tribeca film festival this June for its world premiere, Daddy Issues is short but sweet, sharply funny and gives you nearly everything you want and is yet another testament to Campanella’s abilities as a filmmaker. Can't wait to see what he does next.

About the Film Critic
Chris Buick
Chris Buick
Short Film
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