Saturday, September 10, 2011
*Note, I will be discussing the whole film, but the trailer is above.
Directed by Adam Hall, United States, 2010, 19 minutes.
The one line blurb for Sudden Death! in the DC Shorts Film Festival catalog sums this film almost perfectly, "finally a musical where everyone dies." Though not the best made film in Showcase 6 at the DC Shorts Film Festival, it was the most funny. The film is about a doctor, Nathan Carlson, who creates a love drug that becomes lethal by a government military sect when manipulated. He does not know he is the cause until the end of the film, but he has to come to terms with his own death, right when he finds true love. This film focuses on a disease, only affecting Los Angeles at the moment, called Sudden Death Syndrome. The only symptom of this disease is spontaneously bursting into song and dance before dropping dead. Nathan and his new love, Rachel Hughes, also a doctor, search for a cure together while falling in love and singing.
I have chosen to write about this film because it is more of an admiration towards musicals than a joke. Yes, everyone dies in the end, but (spoiler, sorry) they come back because like the musical genre, people have to live, for the most part. For example, the film spoofs West Side Story's choreography, and therefore allows the idea that main characters can be killed, like Tony, Riff, and Bernardo, to permeate in audiences heads. This idea allows audience members to sit on edge because there seems to be no hope for finding a cure--all of the doctors are either already dead or too busy singing and dancing, or, in the case of Rachel and Nathan, falling in love. Who says our protagonist can't die? We can still like them even if they fail, and are therefore not heroes.
Musicals have unfortunately been lost to our culture these days and now we are left longing for more shows like Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and Glee. If you like either of those, you would like this dark, humorous, and sing-along worthy film. It is also important to note that this film is considered as a political satire by the film's site, and that I had the honor of watching it the day Steven Soderbergh's star contagious film Contagion released in theaters. I do not plan to see Soderbergh's film because it is too close to reality, yet, I was willing, and honestly picked this particular showcase, to see a film with a similar premise. What better way to share something serious than in song and dance?