Countdown Film Review | TIFF 2002

by W. Andrew Powell

When I read about this film, it sounded so cool… a bike courier meets his favorite action director and tries to convince him that he can be the next big movie star in the film that he’s casting for. It sounds great, right? Well, it certainly has the essence of greatness, especially thanks to very compelling performances by both Johnny Gooltz, as “The Kid”, and Carlo Rota, as director Bruce Donato.

Problem is, for a 25 minute film, there’s a lot of extranious action. Most notably, the “romance” between the Kid, and The Usher (played by Zoe Mugford), feels extremely tacked on and only seems to play a part in telling extra bits of the story, but in ways that just don’t feel right.

My dumbest problem with the film is that I really don’t understand what the “Countdown” is all about? All we see is a kid, who seems to represent The Kid’s inner-self, drawing monsters on a wall with a string of numbers that count down to zero. It does look like this represents some kind of violence in his life, that he then breaks through with Donato, but it doesn’t seem powerful enough to really drive the story.

I will say though, that the opening fight sequence is amazing. It’s a very stylized, computer enhanced scene that doesn’t look flawless, but it does still look amazing. That said, it’s not enough to really bring this story through as a dramatic piece that really makes you feel much, or care about what The Kid is trying to count down to.

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