Sam (Dominic Burgess) is about to meet his celebrity idol.
Unfortunately for Sam, his idol is dead.
And so it goes in Sam Did It, a dark and hilarious and endearing short film written and directed by Burgess with tongue firmly embalmed in cheek and an absolutely electric spirit that grabs you in the film's opening scene and never lets you go.
The film, which is slated to screen right here in Indy as part of Heartland Film's Inaugural Indy Shorts from July 26-29 at Newfields, is an absolute winner from beginning to end and it's not even remotely surprising that the film picked up the Audience Award for Best Short at Dances With Films, the Audience Award and Best Short Film prizes at L.A. Comedy Festival, and Sonoma International Film Festival's Best Narrative Short Jury Award.
Putting it bluntly, if you don't love Sam Did It you're, well, probably dead.
In the lead role, Burgess is a complete joy, a lovable bloke who loves his job working in a local morgue almost as much as he absolutely adores his favorite celebrity, Alfred Molina.
Well, you can imagine Sam's surprise when he looks down at his table and sees, well, you can probably figure it out for yourself.
Sam Did It is dark and funny and endearing and even surprisingly unpredictable. Despite a concept that seems like it would be more than enough, Burgess packs in a little bit more and still manages to get Alfred Molina himself to show up for it all.
In addition to its noteworthy festival wins, Sam Did It has screened at several other impressive fests including Nashville International Film Festival, Aspen ShortsFest, Palm Springs ShortsFest and, this July alone, will screen at both L.A. Outfest and Galway Film Feadh in addition to Indy Shorts.
Burgess does a terrific job of tapping into both the joy and the angst of losing one's beloved favorite celebrity, a feeling many of us is all too familiar with as the last couple of years has seemingly been flooded with loss after loss of some of society's favorite household names.There's nary a moment wasted here, Sam Did It opens in glorious fashion with the joy-filled, James Cordenesque Burgess swaying to the music that seems as much in his heart as it is on is radio. Adam Barber's accompanying original music is a vibrant companion to the film's goings on, while D.P. Andrew Shankweiler nicely lenses together the film's absurdity and rather sweet sincerity. Adrian Wittenberg's costume design is spot-on, while the entire production team for Sam Did It deserves major kudos.
The simple truth is that Sam Did It is an absolutely delicious and dark delight, a sublime weaving together of dark humor and quirky humanity that will leave you laughing even as you exit the theater. In addition to Burgess's stellar performance, the appearance here of Alfred Molina will leave a smile on your face while Harley Jane Kozak is the perfect complement to the film's top notch ensemble cast.
For more information on Sam Did It, visit the film's website linked to in the credits. For more information on Indy Shorts presented by Heartland Film, visit the Heartland Film website.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic