Two police officers are investigated by internal affairs following a bloody drugs bust in Chris Esper’s latest short film Bent.
It’s always a pleasure to be given the opportunity to review a Chris Esper film. He has been prolific in recent years and such shorts as The Deja-Vuers, Undatement Center, Still Life and Please Punish Me have all garnered positive reactions n the Screen Critix office in the past. Now, Esper returns with a film set in a genre we had yet to see him dip his creative toes in previously – the cop thriller.
Bent starts with two police officers Brenda Hoggins (Audrey Noone) and Michael Brooks (Justin Thibault) bursting into an apartment where a drug dealer is racking up thick lines of cocaine on a coffee table. After he is shot, Brooks then assassinates the dealer’s unarmed girlfriend before stealing the drugs and money. It seems that this incident isn’t a one-off occurrence either, as two internal affair detectives are watching their every move.
Whilst we may have seen similar stories in the past, Esper and screenwriter Kris Salvi tackle the dark subject matter in an interesting manner, allowing the audience to see more of the characters journey through well-delivered dialogue than action set-pieces. For a twenty-five minute film, Bent is a well-paced and thought-provoking piece of gritty cop drama.
Noone and Thibault do exceedingly well with their characters and are supported by some strong actors in smaller roles. The dialogue is on point and, for the most part, the camera work certainly suits the topic at hand.
It really is great to see Chris Esper try his hand at a multitude of genres. He had already shown he is very capable of making an audience laugh with his previous comedy films, now, with Bent, he shows that thrillers are also in his bag of tricks. Another fine piece of work from a young director who is forever improving with every project.