Total Performance is exceptionally smart, confident, and self-aware. It’s a distressing, actually, because I hate the idea of Total Performance. A short film capable of aping comedy-dramas without bringing anything to the table. Writer-director Sean Meehan, along with lead Tory Berner, produce an entirely digestible short film here.
But I don’t know how I feel about recommending it. I sort of have to recommend it because it’s so creatively inoffensive, I’d be doing it a disservice by not. Thanks to the Internet, short film has a chance at growing artistically as well as commercially. Performance fakes the former to get to the latter, which is entirely acceptable. It could have done the exact same thing, I have no doubt, without appearing ambitious.
The acting is solid, even if often manipulative. Berner is a fine enough lead, though she eventually suffers the most. Meehan goes for the film’s accessibility over her character arc. Steven Conroy’s inoffensively weak in the male lead. But Meehan wants the blandness to irritate (not offend) enough to cover writing deficiencies.
Caitlin Berger’s really good in a small part.
Predictably strong (but still enthusiastic) production values–Meehan’s editing, Chris Loughran’s solid photography, Cesar Suarez’s likable “don’t call it musak”–round out Total Performance.
Written, edited and directed by Sean Meehan; director of photography, Chris Loughran; music by Cesar Suarez; produced by Alessandra Brown, Korey McIsaac and Meehan.
Starring Tory Berner (Cori), Steven Conroy (Tim), Caitlin Berger (Annie), Timothy J. Cox (Walter), Paul Locke (Bruce) and Anthony Rainville (Rafi).