Directed by: Daniel ‘Danny’ Witkin
Starring: Bennett Kirschner, Max Carpenter, Timothy J. Cox
It’s hard to give a full explanation of what Trouble is about as it’s more of a short character study than a story that has a beginning, middle and ending. This 12 minute short was created as a senior thesis, written and directed by Daniel Witkin. It’s about a boy, Isaac, who is in an academy for juvenile delinquents and life in there is tough for him as he’s being bullied by a much tougher looking boy, Greg (Max Carpenter) and at the same time the academy’s Headmaster (Timothy J. Cox), has them doing play acting exercises where they are telling each other the correct way to solve their problems, but of course as soon as the class is over Greg carries on bullying Isaac. It gets so bad for Isaac that he attempts to escape but this fails until he hatches a plan to escape during the academy’s annual Christmas dance.
As the subject of the story is not an easy one to convey, Witkin has chosen to tell it in a dramedy fashion with slight touches of humor sprinkled throughout the film as we follow Isaac in his daily life in the academy and the way he handles the bullying and to finally managing to pull off his escape plan. The actors all give solid performances, the parts that really stood out for me and lightened the mood of the film were the ‘wooden fake acting’ scenes, in which Isaac and Greg are reading the lines the Headmaster had given them during class with the Headmaster watching and urging them on pompously. Also, the last scene in which we see Isaac’s escape plan come into fruition stands out, as again a difficult moment is handled with a comedic touch as we literally see Isaac having the last laugh.
Verdict: This is by no means a perfect short and not an easy subject matter to watch but Witkin has managed to make an uneasy subject watchable by its light touches of humor and cleverness. As a film debut this is definitely a promising start.