A Therapy Short Drama with a Twist

Cravings written by David Rasch and directed by Katie Pyne is a short drama produced by Matt Boda of Get It Made LA. The film is contained as it all takes place in a small room where therapy is conducted on a troubled man by a no-nonsense therapist. It's quite well-written and is bordering on a commentary on society, the perception of therapy, and mental illness. I was certainly intrigued by the drama but was not expecting its explosive ending (spoiler alert). It draws you in with a slow-burn and well-placed exposition sprinkled in. The film hinges on its writing and acting as it must be compelling due to the nature of the film and its limitations, which also serve as an added benefit. Let's take a deeper dive into the film and why it was so effective.

The Screenplay

The primary strength of this short film is its writing. It has much more on its mind than your typical psychodrama, which is why I think it's so effective. The dialogue never feels on-the-nose, which I feel is so important within this genre and its subject matter. The exposition also does not feel disingenuous or forced, which is also exceedingly important with this brand of film. The story that Craig tells and the way Barbara leads him into it feels natural and provokes intrigue. The dialogue is also unique, for the most part, which is sorely missing from films of the kind as well. The slow-burn drama all builds to an explosive final act which, at the risk of unhinging the film, seemingly comes out of left field. This may seem like a criticism, but it is a welcome surprise. I respect the risk-taking with the shocking finale, I admire the direction in which this film takes by the end, and I also believe that if this is a proof of concept, this could build a very fascinating world for a feature.

The Performances

As I mentioned before, a film like this all depends on the writing and the acting to carry it through. The film rests on the shoulders of the lead performances and they carry the load well. Dexter McDaniel's Craig is a troubled man who desperately needs help after an altercation forces him into rehab and therapy. Marie-Francoise Theodore's Barbara is a 'straight to the point' therapist who is a seasoned veteran who has seemingly been over this with Craig and knows just how to handle his erratic behavior. McDaniel must walk a tightrope with his deeply disturbed but striving character with his layered performance. Theodore's performance is strong yet delicate with the way she handles Craig's therapy. She must be caring yet firm, and she nails this balance. Both performances are impressive and the direction by Katie Pyne is confident and assured.

The Production Value

I was quite impressed with the level of production on this low budget short. The cinematography, sound, editing, and production design are all on point. There are also effects that are required by the end and I wasn't sure how well that was going to work out, but it was eye-opening and really high quality. The film as a whole is just solid and it makes me eager to watch even more of Get it Made LA's productions. Matt Boda is the executive producer behind this project and it's clear he and his team have such attention to detail and put so much care into what they make. I am highly encouraged that this is the first of many that I will see. If this is any indicator, the rest will be of the highest level of quality, care and effort.

The Verdict

Overall, Cravings is a very solid production from top to bottom. It's clear that the writer had gone through some pain that translated well onto the page (wholly relatable). The writing, directing, acting, and production value as a whole are all top-notch. The film is a slow-burn from the get-go that builds until a fever pitch which is both shocking and oddly satisfying by the end. I have to commend Matt Boda and his team and Get It Made LA for this production and I look forward to future and current projects to dive into.

 

Rating: Great

 

Cravings is a Get It Made LA Production and can be found on their website, along with the screenplay for reading. The film is also available on YouTube and can be found here.

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By Rob McNeil

My name is Rob McNeil. I was born and raised in Normal, Illinois and I am a 28 year-old award winning screenwriter. I am very passionate about film, so much that I watch far too many films on a daily basis. I have written fifteen feature screenplays, a spec pilot thriller series, and several short scripts. I aim to make filmmaking a career, but for now, I will write about it.

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