Movie Short Review: ‘A Storybook Ending’

Greetings again from the darkness. Two people are bound and gagged in the living room of a nice home. There is a dead body laying nearby. The camera zooms in on the battered face of a woman with tears running down her cheeks. Another man is present, and he seems to be in a daze. Writer-director Lanre Olabisi serves up an 18 minute thriller with violence, flashbacks, and dark-humored negotiations, all stemming from the fallout of the systemic racism that’s been an important topic over the past few months.

A terrific opening sequence features a black man become the victim of a cell phone theft and then almost immediately accidentally kill a white undercover police officer in self-defense. When he realizes no one will believe it was an accident, he runs off toward his home, unaware that the whole thing was filmed by two observers … the two who are later bound and gagged in the man’s living room. It’s a brilliant short film story line that has the two break into the man’s house and attempt to extort big money for the video.

We don’t witness the struggle that occurred after the break-in, but we certainly see the fallout. Negotiations between the parties are a bit comical, and maybe what we witness is best described as ‘slapstick violence’. There is a standoff between the two parties, as the “good” guy is convinced by the burglars that he will never get a break for killing the cop, no matter that it was an accident. The man and his wife understand this to be so. Still, a terrible evening somehow continues to get worse for the couple, and filmmaker Olabisi keeps us entranced until the very end. The music is a terrific complement to the performances of Rotini Paul, Carra Patterson, Sawandi Wilson, and Toni Ann De Noble.

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