Shot Through the Heart, by Jack Fleischer
We never learn what the acronym C.U.P.I.D. stands for, but in the course of this short film writer/director Thomas Smith introduces a team of love operatives that work like S.H.I.E.L.D. or The Expendables, but instead of breaking kneecaps they’re melding hearts.
A man and a woman walk down the street. It’s obvious that they’re in a strained relationship. Then a mysterious woman walks past, the man is smitten, and his present relationship begins to falter. Is this relationship worth saving, or should go to this mysterious new woman? The agents of C.U.P.I.D. have some thoughts on the matter, and they spring into action.
C.U.P.I.D. has no dialogue, and only a few grunts, beeps, slaps and explosions to augment the music in this “silent” film. The music does a good job emoting for the characters, even if it does sound a little tinny and canned. As for the lack of discussion, this film never suffers because of it. This is an action based short, and I must commend the male lead (Khristian Fulmer) for doing a decent job dodging a large number of digitally inserted love rockets (a phrase that’s both dirty, and accurate).
As with any small budget film, there are some obvious handicaps. The special effects are CGI, and in many places the seams show through. The green screen work is a bit excessive, but perhaps it can’t be helped at this budgetary level.
Another issue is the acting. Over the top at its best, often it’s just not good. Maybe this is a stylistic choice of the director to have “big” performances accompany an over-the-top concept. Besides, when you’re in the lo-fi film world, sometimes you have to take the people who are available.
If I want to be really picky I could point out that the plot doesn’t flow well:
We start with a couple that is in a committed relationship. Unfortunately they dislike each other, and treat each other with disrespect. Both display interest in other people, yet our hero still decides to propose. Upon seeing his girlfriend with another man, he reconsiders. At that point the agents of C.U.P.I.D. start shooting love darts at him, and incidentally, that we already know he’s in love with the other woman. The reality is that the hero doesn’t need to fall in love; he just needs to find the other woman. The argument could be made that the agents are actually working to get them in close proximity, but many of their actions seem to indicate otherwise.
Of course, I’m just being a picky jerk.
This is a cute, well-intentioned, low budget film. It’s obvious that the cast and crew put a great deal of time, attention and effort into making C.U.P.I.D. and it stands as a competent piece of work. Sure it has issues, but then again, what film doesn’t?