SHORT FILM REVIEW: The Gun Equation

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2016 Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival Short Film Official Selection

“THE GUN EQUATION”—4 STARS

Short films have the unenviable creative and artistic challenge of time limitation.  By design, they have a brief window to cut the BS, grab your attention, spin its narrative, and create resonance.  Simplicity is key and nuance takes over for sprawl.  A razor sharp example of a short film that checks those boxes with raised eyebrows and quick captivation is local Chicago filmmaker Matthew Weinstein’s “The Gun Equation.”  His short film plays at the 2016 Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival which runs from July 24-31 at the AMC Randhurst 12 theater in Mount Prospect, Illinois. 

Devoid of opening credits, “The Gun Equation” opens in blackness to a narrator posing the question “What is a gun, really?”  A man (Tyler Pistorius) is revealed indulging in a cigarette looking out the window of his Chicago high rise condo.  He clearly has something heavy on his mind, namely his absent wife (Emily Rogers).  Settled in his thoughts, he puts the cigarette out on a photograph, grabs a loaded Beretta pistol off the countertop, and heads out the door into the streets of the Chicago Loop.

What confrontation awaits this man?  What is his motivation?  Who or what is his target?  Our nervous observation to follow this unnamed husband takes over.  In just under eight minutes and with no dialogue from Pistorius, “The Gun Equation” can trigger emotion, pull you into its tension, and leave you at the edge of seat in short order.

Written by Thomas Desplinter (“Wrigley Faithful”) and shot in Chicago, the short film is composed of quick camera takes from director of photography AJ Young that feels like eye blinks shuffling rehashed memories and fleeting thoughts.  The shot mix is excellent to shift “The Gun Equation” between voyeurism and POV.  Tight edits from director Matthew Weinstein and clean sound from designer Stosh Tuszynski and mixer Mark Bartels capitalize on making the busy urban atmosphere an added element of potential danger.  The icing on the cake is a haunting blend of melancholy piano and bracing electronica music from Jessica Salzinski.

Not a stitch of tone or delivery feels like amateur hour from Weinstein and his team.  “The Gun Equation” skillfully delivers its quick fix and makes you crave eight, or even 80, more minutes to see this burgeoning thriller play out further.  That very effect counts as a short film’s complete mark of success.  Seek this little gem out at the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival or its upcoming VOD release on August 2. 

LESSON #1: DON’T CHEAT ON YOUR SPOUSE OR BE THE CHEATER EITHER—Tactfully, for you own emotional and physical health, don’t commit adultery in its many forms.  You might just piss the wrong person off and find yourself looking down the barrel of a gun loaded with retribution and karma.

LESSON #2: DON’T LEAVE THE DOOR UNLOCKED BEHIND YOU WHEN YOU GET HOME—This is especially true in the city of Chicago.  Turn the deadbolt for peace of mind, even for quick visits.  You never know who might walk in behind you.

LESSON #3: WHAT BREAKING POINT WOULD MAKE YOU SEEK OUT A WEAPON?—The opening salvo thought of “The Gun Equation” is tied to wavering rationale thinking and a person’s search for assertive dominance.  A gun, or any weapon, can achieve that power and tip the scales.  

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