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average rating is 3 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Nov 13, 2022

Film Reviews
Directed by:
James T. George
Written by:
James T. George
James T. George, Veronica Halko, Tyler DeHaven, Rob DeHoff

It can be very hard for up-and-coming filmmakers to break into the big time these days, perhaps harder than ever. That is all the more true for those who wish to begin with action films - a market often dominated by a fairly rigid group of directors, very few of whom offer all too much invention. Though James T. George doesn’t excel behind the camera in ‘Outstanding’, he wouldn’t be out of place in that group of action directors, and that, particularly on such a tight budget, is a credit to his abilities.


‘Outstanding’ begins with Jamison, a special operator, waking up in a daze. Blurry-cam suggests that he might have had a few too many drinks the night before, although his overall mannerisms suggest that it’s more the product of fatigue. Either way, it certainly appears as though Jamison needs a holiday, one which he’s supposed to be beginning that very day, only the mystery agency he works for has other plans.


The smoothly robotic tones of his computer inform him that he still has an ‘outstanding balance’ to settle by completing an assignment, the nature of which is frustratingly vague throughout. Jamison refuses, but when his safe house blows up is forced reluctantly into the task. The following meeting with Evee (Veronica Halko), the voice of his computer, and Agent Miles (Tyler DeHaven) is perhaps the funniest the film gets.


The action is competently filmed by George, making sure you feel each punch meticulously choreographed by Rob DeHoff. You feel as though given a higher budget George could make a much-improved, glossier film, with more refined action sequences and without such an eyesore as the freshly painted white brick wall which forms the backdrop for the majority of scenes. Another frustration is the score, which is the generic 'low-low-high-low-low-high' violin strings which worked so well when used by Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd in the silent classics, but has lacked the same goofball vibrancy ever since it became used in every amateur comedy short film.


What makes ‘Outstanding’, well, not outstanding, however, is the mismatch between the script and lead actor. It’s especially odd given that it was James T. George who wrote the script for… James T. George. The script is good and would be funny if the lead actor were someone more in the mould of Ryan Reynolds’ witty, self-aware, yet nonetheless smooth humour. Unfortunately, George is more of a straight man and his performance is more of a halfway house between the two, leading to some underwhelming line delivery and a general lack of laughs. Neither the script nor the acting is bad by any means, however, the two just don’t suit each other.


Though ‘Outstanding’ may not quite live up to it’s name, there’s enough there to suggest talent in James T. George (in all departments - directing, writing, and acting, though perhaps a different style), and at ten minutes the pace is brisk enough to get past a few misguided jokes. Perhaps a better title would have been 'solid'.


About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film
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