Oct 13, 2023
Anthony Rapp, John Rubinstein, Gwen Hollander
A door-to-door salesman arrives at an elderly man's residence with the intention of doing some business. However, all is not what it seems.
The story takes place in the U.S., during nineteen-fifties and a traveling salesman (Rapp) knocks on the door of a large house, hoping to sell some knives that he has inside his suitcase. He is greeted by the nurse (Hollander), who is looking after the elderly owner (Rubinstein) of the property. After a little misunderstanding, the man agrees to watch over the senior, while she briefly goes of to attend to other matters. The salesman then encounters the not-very-friendly aged man, who is ill and eventually allows the visitor to show him the knives. And that is when the song starts.
This short film begins as a period drama about an accidental and awkward meeting between two strangers and suddenly turns into a musical and it is quite a show. Rapp proceeds to sing a catchy song filled with rhymes, whose lyrics tell a tragic background story about himself and his sister, particularly how she married a salesman who deceived and destroyed her and finally explain the salesman's current situation and intentions. The song takes up approximately four minutes of the film's ten-minute duration and the creativity makes it an enjoyable and admirable sequence. Rapp delivers a fantastic performance as he sings and dances while moving around the house, with the senior remaining seated and watching him, baffled. Reality and fantasy overlap during the song, with characters from the lyrics appearing and dancing around the property and commendations go to the camerawork and Sean Lew's choreography for the dance scenes. The song is appropriately titled Beautiful and praise goes to Alan Zachary, Michael Weiner and Zach Robinson for the remarkable work in creating a piece that supports the narrative by telling a story and is also a joy to listen to.
The song sequence is the part that stands out the most, however the rest of the film is not brought down in any way, as all of the scenes help develop an intriguing story about tragedy and revenge with plot twists. And the entire film benefits greatly by Florian Stadler's wonderful cinematography and by Michael Mullen's superb work on the costumes.
This film is entertaining and dramatic, with revelations. Like many musicals, this one utilises singing in order to move the plot forward and to support character development and it does so quite effectively. The singing, the dancing, Rapp's performance and the twists are what make this short a memorable experience.