Review by Jacquelin Hipes
Ryan Egypt’s debut short film, Chasing Titles Vol. 1, takes a hard and sad look at the effect of crime on one Florida family. Joe (Brian Austin Green) works as a delivery van driver, while also doing some off-the-books work for a local drug dealer to supplement his income. Both he and his wife (Erica Eynon) are absentee parents to their son Caleb (Landon Gimenez), who is old enough to not only take notice of their drinking and drug abuse, but to feel ashamed, angry, and frightened by it too.
As chance would have it, Caleb attends school with and has a crush on Honey (Malia Vega), a young relative of his father’s illicit business partner. When Joe loses his job with the delivery company, in turn jeopardizing his usefulness as a drug courier, life swiftly takes a turn for the worse. Desperation inspires poor decisions, bringing a new importance to the once-independent relationships between the children and adults.
As the perceptive Caleb, Gimenez brings a great deal of heart to some very depressing proceedings. Green and Eynon come across as caricatures of neglectful parents, in no small part due to an awkwardly wooden script. Clifton Powell and Haas Manning fare much better as the drug kingpin and his second-in-command. True to the title, Ryan Egypt ends his crisp, 24-minute short on a cliffhanger that demands a sequel to resolve. Left standing alone, faced with a harrowing decision, Caleb is forced to the forefront of the story. Thanks to Gimenez’s performance, I hope he gets to stay there for a future Volume 2.