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Mariangela Pino
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Short

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28 May 1993 (USA)  »

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Showtime 30-Minute Movie: Evening Class  »

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Eventually the bottom falls out of the plot but up till the end it is an impressive double-hander
9 January 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Martha Hentry is dropped off in front of community college by her husband Warren to take the first of her series of evening classes on psychology. However when she gets to the classroom she is alone and is joined by fellow student Rick. He is talkative and friendly which she finds a bit tiring but, when no teacher shows up, he heads off home. However seconds later he returns and his mood has changed noticeably; he is now a bit sinister and aggressive but when Martha tries to leave he locks the door and holds her in the room.

Opening with a mood of cheery optimism amongst the students as Martha walks into the college as the sun sets, leaving a warm sense of a summers' night, this film is all the more effective for how quickly and dramatically the mood changes. The initial conversation between Martha and Rick is lively and relaxed and I was interested in it even before the direction and character of Rick switched totally. From here on in it is menacing and tense and it held me as a result. The lack of logic in the plot means that it can't keep going forever and I did suspect an anticlimax in the making. This does eventually come and I felt that the ending undid a lot of the work that it had done up till that point. However ignoring this failure at the end, the short film still works for about 27 minutes of the 30 and is worth seeing for these minutes if not the final 3.

A massive reason for this is the performances. Despite a few minor characters, the majority of the film is in the classroom and only has Beach and Pino in the scene. Beach dominates the film with a character that swings all over the place and is convincing no matter what you ask him to do with Rick. He is impressive and has a great presence, indicating that he may be a great stage actor or that he has solid roots there. Pino has a less showy role to play but does it equally as well in different ways. Neither of them are too sure-footed at the end of the film but this is not their fault but the fault of the material.

Overall this is a great double-hander for 27 minutes but eventually it had to end and by doing so it falls down badly. The ending has such a lack of believability that it is a real disappointment considering how well it had engaged me for the majority of the film. Worth seeing though because for 27 minutes Beach is fantastic and holds it all together thanks to the tension developed by director Haney.


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