25 March 2011


Friday Night Short: Black Button

I don't have the time for a feature film-length live blog, but I really wanted to share this Short today. I found it, as I find all my Horror Shorts, on Hey! Look Behind You! (Thanks, Nicki!)

0:06 Yes, this appears to be a religious film. I don't precisely know what the filmmakers believe . . . but that doesn't seem important because they get everything else right.
0:28 You are here to make a choice, Mr. Roberts. That is all. This point is when I knew something was very wrong.
1:00 I wonder if this was based on those "Obedience to Authority" experiments, a kind of sting operation on the human psyche.
1:13 Ten million (Australian) dollars seems really low, until you remember that the God-Man was sold for what amounts to about US$15,000. There's an Arthurian legend in which someone correctly estimates the value of a man's life as half that, because a man is worth only half his Lord.
1:35 The camera is shaky when pointed at Mr. Roberts . . . steady when pointed at the other guy.
1:51 My God! . . . Oh, he's not yours, Mr. Roberts. An interesting line. It could be read several ways.

2:06 LOL! I kind of love the irony of them having such a low budget that they couldn't even make fake money.
2:36 Take the key, Mr. Roberts.
2:49 Stop rationalising it. Take the damn key!

3:04 He still doesn't notice something is up?
3:14 Eventually, Mr. Roberts, everyone's time is up. You know, this is the argument I use when I make my own "modest proposals" for culling the excess human population.
3:42 My purpose is to try to create a world devoid of weakness . . . Ah, a race of Ubermensch!

4:38 You see it in his eyes here. Mr. Roberts has made his decision.

5:12 I've heard that after the deafening blast from a nuclear bomb finally dies, the silence is almost tangible.
5:19 My guess was that "the catch" is he gets the money, all right, but can't get out of the room. What was yours?
5:31 And I was sort of right . . . Were you?
5:54 Just like the devil to insist he has a "job" in Creation.

6:13 And to give himself a job title.
6:28 You had the key to salvation . . . Ah, don't we all these days?
6:46 This story might be short, but it has the sweetest moral sting in its tail.

This is seriously good. It doesn't just look at how an individual soul might fail when brought to the test, but presents a decent argument for why one person's sin is never simply his own business--never merely a matter of his own free choice and discretion.

Have a blessed Feast of the Annunciation, in which we remember the moment when one soul made the right choice, not just for herself but also for all mankind.


mrsdarwin said...

Ooh, cool. I enjoyed this (watching in a few bursts as I kept shooing the kids away in case it got too scary).

I thought that perhaps he was going to kill himself with the button, or be stuck in the room forever.

Enbrethiliel said...


It's not bad, aye? =)

Those possibilities ran through my mind, too.

I was also bracing myself for something scary or too gory, but most of the horror happily comes from the atmosphere.

Thanks for watching it with me!