En Passant (2005)

You can’t really find too much in terms of independent short films revolving around a talking head, so I wasn’t really expecting much in “En Passant”, a seven minute short that revolves basically around two talking heads. Two people sit across from one another in a dark room discussing serial killers. They discuss motive and person, the individuals and the methods of murders they engaged in. What’s perplexing about this film is not that these men are discussing these killers as if they’re defending one of their own family, but how they have the ability to commit these heinous crimes.

Kyle Znamenak and Anthony Spadaccini look like they’re really pouring themselves into these duel roles. Their characters are engaged in a game of pure egos and one-upping and do everything possible to show the other their knowledge of these murderers. They then veer into their own abilities to commit crimes. Their minds can create the possibility of sick murders that they think only sick minds are capable of, yet here are two men trying to surpass the other by creating these situations. “En Passant” is sold mostly by the great surprise ending in which we discover why they’re pursuing the battle of wits. For the ending alone, it deserves a watch. Sadly though, “En Passant” suffers from being incredibly over the top.

Sometimes our cast was so deep into their roles and intent on delivering their dialogue they never really seemed to realize they were chewing the scenery. That in turn makesEn Passant” a hit and miss venture with often trite and forced dialogue around conversations involving serial killers that felt a lot like much of what we’ve heard over and over in many other films. Meanwhile, the actors can never add enough intensity to their roles, thus their characters are too forced to keep us involved and it’s distracting. Scenery is chewed, dialogue is forced and situations are never as involving as it could be. On the bright sideEn Passant” comes out on the winning edge because of its energy, the psychology behind murder, and the unexpected surprise ending.