Written and directed by Bob Celli, The Keeper follows a lonely widow yearning for connection, meets an art collector at a speed dating event. Surrounded by a world of desperation, they make a palpable connection, but what they are looking for in each other is vastly different. Starring: Betsy Adkins Johnson and Bob Celli.
The film opens on a note that while seemingly calm or sad, has an ominous air to it, it’s quick to tell that there’s a mystery hanging over what seems to be a normal evening. The choice of speed dating opens up the potential issue of diving deep into clichéd territory but the filmmakers do well to avoid that, it’s a simple interaction and there isn’t too much lingering so the pace is consistently moving and the speed dating feels more simply setting rather than holding too much on the story or taking focus from the two leads. The writing also has a quality to it that holds the intrigue and mystery well, not giving too much away but enough that you’re wary of what’s to come.
Making the decision to add a touch of the erotic to the film, is an interesting choice for a short, it doesn’t always pay off with the minimal time but here it does exactly what it should, it adds an edge to the darkness that lingers throughout the film and a hint of danger. It’s used in a way that isn’t inherently sinister but tinges the atmosphere with it, pushing that underlying feeling that all is not well. The ominous air is helped by directorial choices for the camera to never stray far from its actors, holding a certain precision which very well reflects the story, with choices that subtly foreshadow the events.
Celli and Johnson have a good level of chemistry, even though their interaction is relatively short for the most part. It’s difficult to explain how they work well together without using spoilers so it’s easiest to say that they both hold their own and it’s entertaining to watch.
It’s a tough task for a film that only has a few minutes to leave an impression, to leave you satisfied by what you’ve seen but The Keeper does exactly that, it’s genuinely satisfying. There’s a touch of dark comedy that comes through nicely in its latter moments and it leaves you wondering if there still could be more to it, though that probably depends on whether your outlook fall on the positive or cynical side.