Review: Total Performance

In this short film, Cori (Tory Berner) is an actress who makes a living by playing out scenarios with real people who want to rehearse a difficult conversation they’re about to have; whatever that may be, firing someone, breaking up, or an embarrassing confession, these actors are ready to help. Written and directed by Sean Meehan, starring Tory Berner, Steven Conroy, Caitlin Berger, Anthony Rainville, Timothy J. Cox, Paul Locke, Phoebe Kuhlman and Lauren B. Nelson.

Berner provides a brilliant lead for this film; confident, charming, funny and strong, who is entertaining to watch but still with a softer, vulnerable side that gives audiences something to relate to. Particularly her chemistry with Conroy’s character Tim draws you into the film almost immediately, and again another character that has a lot to offer rather than a simple love interest, portrayed well by Conroy. Though the main focus may be for the majority on these two characters, the film also offers great supporting actors who add to the film and its story without distracting from the main direction, particularly Cox’s executive attempting to play out an uncomfortable conversation.

One very interesting aspect of the film, which adds hugely to the comedic element of it, is the use of music during its first half that almost feels like you’re in some sort of heist or caper style film which makes the situation of actors helping people through these difficult situations feel even funnier. Made even more interesting by the fact that it is based in truth, there are people out there doing similar jobs to the ones portrayed in this short film, helping everyday people deal with tough conversations. As a whole the comedy is extremely well paced and there’s a great use of irony but moving on to the dramatic side of the film, it adds more layers to the story and the characters, turning the tables and creating a stronger sense of intrigue, which adds a lot to the film overall. The progression of the story also moves perfectly, it isn’t a simple following of our protagonist as she goes about her day, the choices in editing result in it coming across on screen in a very enjoyable manner.

The film may only be 18 minutes long but it manages unbelievably well to create something with comedy, drama and emotion in more than just a one sided story which is impressive. This is one of those projects where, when it ends, it leaves you wanting more and isn’t that exactly what you’re looking for? This is a director to keep an eye out for in the future.

Verdict: 9/10


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