Why Watch? Most of the time, movies with great concepts pull their punches as if knocking out their audience would be one step too far. Elko takes that step.
The short film from writer/director Alexander Yan features a boy responding to a young woman’s internet post requesting to be killed, achieving an uncomfortable intimacy as they spend time together in silence leading up to the act. Populated by the kinds of activities that should be engaging and connect two people, there’s always a sense of alienation present — some kind of connection to the digital world even as they’re surrounded by the wide open rural spaces of Nevada. That it tells its story without exposition, ceremony or exclamation magnifies the unease, and the blend of true film shots with grainy iPhone camera captures means we’re never allowed to settle in comfortably.
Plus, the young man (Michael Desjardin) is effectively Hannibal Lecter with a fake I.D. Clearly, deeply disturbed, he’s a chain-smoking bomb that doesn’t tick, and the young woman (Annalee Scott) plays the willing toy with a confident question mark on her face. And that’s key — Elko seems disinterested in answers, but it’s amazingly powerful in producing questions. As Yan says on his Vimeo post, Happy Valentine’s Day.
What Will It Cost? About 13 minutes.