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Sunday, February 1, 2015

One Man's Murder Plot and His New Maid in Thrilling Short Film "Pro Kopf"

"PRO KOPF" (2014)
Genre: Thriller
Length- 13:50
Company: Top Five Films
Website: Official Facebook

Businessman Martin (Ray Strachan) is away on business.  He calls home, only to find his call picked up by a newly hired maid (Fiana De Guzman) that he did not hire who admits that his wife is bed with another man.  Caught up in a rage, Martin proposes a deal: kill his wife and he will pay handsomely.

What does the maid say?

What does she do?

BARE BONES

One thing, across the board, that you will notice in the best of short films is that they strip down their stories to the most manageable parts and wash away anything unnecessary.  "Pro Kopf" is a shining example of that mentality.  If you're going to make a short film, or an indie film of any kind, then you're best served by keeping it simple and straight forward.

Coming to us from Hamburg, Germany, multi-award winning "Pro Kopf" is a dark short about jealousy and the things people do to get even.  Martin admits to have dealt with his wife's infidelity before, and that helps to make his proposal to the maid more believable.  Otherwise, it might have been a stretch.

The final minutes of the film are downright chilling, as things . . . happen.  I'm not going to spoil it for you because "Pro Kopf" is a damn effective little thriller and I highly suggest you stop reading this review and go watch it now.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 4 / 5.  "Pro Kopf" boils down the thriller genre to its strongest parts.  The dialogue by screenwriter Tommy Draper is realistic and well written.  The only thing I didn't buy was just how far the maid goes in describing the wife's affair.  It felt too much like professional wheeling and dealing.
Directing: 3 / 5.  There's not a lot for director Sascha Zimmermann to do, visually -- the film takes place in a single location, a hotel bedroom, and the entirety of the action takes place sitting on a bed, talking on a telephone.  That being said, Zimmermann mixes up his shots well and while visually the film starts to get boring three quarters of the way through, the story and the audience's investment in Martin remains strong until the end credits.
Editing: 3 / 5.  The film's pacing starts to slow during the aforementioned "wheeling and dealing" section, and I really wanted to get to the end to see what happened.
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  Effective score by Jan Dugge.  It never intruded, but then I don't really remember any particular melodies, either.
Acting: 5 / 5.  This film relied on its leads to succeed, and thank goodness they were more than capable of carrying their roles.  The real stand out here is Strachan, whose portrayal of Martin was right on the money.  He's got anger issues, but he's also vulnerable, frustrated and out of his mind concerned, all while trying to hire someone to kill his wife.  That's acting skills right there, friends.

Final Grade: 3.6 / 5.  

Don't forget to watch "Pro Kopf" on Vimeo right now and follow the creators on Facebook!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!