Piledriver (2005)

Genres: Black Comedy, Comedy, Romance
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Calvin Reeder Calvin Reeder
Lindsay Pulsipher Lindsay Pulsipher
Calvin Reeder Calvin Reeder
Wendy West Wendy West
J. Maki J. Maki

8.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg
Added: June 05, 2008
I have mentioned before that I have an irresistible fondness for the short films Calvin Reeder has made; each wholly belonging to him as he directed, starred in, and wrote them. Having been named one of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film" last summer, I am glad to see I am not alone in following his work and keeping an eye on him. The magazine had a nice way of describing his work by saying, "A stark mix of underground horror shock with existentialist atmosphere, Calvin Reeder's three short films ... are putting the art into lo-fi splatter pics." Although that is slightly more befitting for his latter two pieces, Little Farm and The Rambler, it still stands to include Piledriver due to its darkly tongue-in-cheek ending which is playfully contrasted by the film's overall romancey genre story.

In this 14-minute short film, we are introduced to Alex (Calvin Reeder), a slobbish, twentysomething punk. After awaking in his disheveled room, recklessly brushing his teeth, and checking his jeans for any cash, it can easily be assumed that he is lacking much responsibility and is currently unemployed. This assumption is backed up more so as we then see him shuffle through his record collection to find something he can deal with parting in an effort to sell, which ends up only earning him a measly amount. On his walk down the street to wherever, he stops himself alongside a young woman named Michelle (Lindsay Pulsipher) who catches his eye as she stands awaiting the bus. She bluntly responds to his staring by asking, "What the fuck are you looking at?" They have a short back-and-forth exchange which leads to them going to a bar for some drinks, and from there on, they fall for each other.

Their relationship does not come without an inconvenience though. You see, Michelle previously had a boyfriend named Todd, but she wanted nothing to do with him after he had sex behind her back. Todd still has feelings for Michelle and desperately hopes she can forgive him. Eventually he learns that she is seeing Alex, and jealousy overcomes him. I really do not want to say anything more, I mean, it is a short film and all, but saying that I do not want to say anything else means there has got to be something to it, you know? Well, anyway, you will have a different perspective on this paragraph once you watch it.

Altogether, Piledriver works perfectly as a short film; it does not offer a lot to work with to consider it being made into a full-length feature, keeping things simple and neat. It is an unorthodox story of love between the type of couple you do not see too often in romance films. I was surprised that I was actually able to get caught up in the element given the time constraint. Do me a favor, and do not bail halfway through if it does not click with you or if you do not care for some of the subpar acting. This and the other two shorts of Reeder's excellently accomplish hitting the mark at which they take aim; they have climaxes that get released unexpectedly where you catch yourself stunned like a bird that has flown into a window, but soon after recovering from the shock, you will then perhaps find yourself to have a crazed chuckle escaping from your mouth.

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