LEAH'S MOVIE LOWDOWN
Review: Quality Control
February 14, 2017
Imagine, if you will, a world in which scientists have not only figured out how to clone humans, but that clones are now so easy to “manufacture” and are so common that they’ve become disposable. This may be a world in the future, or another planet, or a parallel universe, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the clones are deemed so inferior to their original human counterparts that they don’t even have names; they are merely numbers.
This sci-fi scenario is the basis of the new short film from filmmakers Joe LoBianco and Tom DiOrio, Quality Control. In the film Clone #36 has been called in for an audit after an “incident”. He tries his best to prove his worth and fight for his life, but his pleas fall on the disinterested ears of Auditor 451, who could care less about the clones, or their fate.
The film is the first for makers DiOrio and LoBianco, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s an amateur effort. On the contrary, Quality Control has the sort of clean cut production value and special effects that you’d expect to see from industry veterans. For example, the booth Auditor 451 occupies seems to have the latest and greatest technology the people of the film’s world can provide, right down to the “authenticity monitor,” (which monitors the clones and gives readings based on the authenticity of their words and feelings) which is integrated into the glass separating the booth from the room the clones are “audited” in. But special effects and production value certainly aren’t the only reasons to watch it.
Another great reason is the film’s not-so-hidden deeper meaning. On the surface it’s a sci-fi story about clones being so common they’re disposable, but according to LoBianco, “I want all our films to make you think. This [film] is about prejudice and the abuse of power. Everyone has some sort of power over someone else in some way. How we use that power is what helps define us,” he said.
Quality Control may be a short film, but it evokes as many emotions as its full-length counterparts. Once getting a look into the booth Auditor 451 occupies it’s hard to stifle giggles. The booth contains 451’s favorite toys, which make it easy to pass him off as an idiot at first, but as time goes on he conjures feelings of resentment, anger and frustration. When Clone #36 is on screen emotions like fear, terror, sadness, and finally hope take over.
Not every film needs a strong underlying message to be great, but Quality Control is the epitome of a great short film. The actors, the set (an all-black, dark room), the little touches (such as the toys in the control booth), and the myriad of emotions the film evokes, work together to make Quality Control the type of film that is remembered; and that is no small feat given the plethora of viewing options we are faced with these days.
"The epitome of a great short film" ~ Leah's Movie Lowdown
"Excellent cinema." ~ The Movie Critic Next Door
"Effective and most of all enjoyable." ~ Film Carnage
"Brave new world meets the twilight zone and I really enjoyed that" ~ Porsia Y.
THE MOVIE CRITIC NEXT DOOR
Review: Quality Control
The trouble with waiting rooms is that you're so often waiting for something bad. Maybe you're there to see a dentist, to have a serious talk with your child's teacher, or going on a job interview -- which could potentially be good but is definitely going to be stressful. The people in the waiting room at the start of Quality Control have it even worse, though. They're waiting to see if they'll get to survive the day.
Number 36 (Kenny Mahoney) is up first, and right away you know he's in trouble -- he's put into a small dark room with no furnishings and one window that only gives a view of the next room, where his nemesis, Auditor 451 (Charlie Sausa), sits. Apparently, 36 attacked someone and is now 'on trial', though it isn't like any trial you'd recognize.
The Auditor, with the help of his instincts and an extremely advanced lie detector system, must decide if 36 is telling the truth when he says he isn't a danger; that the attack was provoked and he won't do it again. If unconvinced, the Auditor will kill him. You see, 36 is a clone, and in this society, clones are disposable when they do anything wrong. Why not, when you can always grow more who might behave better? The Auditor has the system down cold, whereas 36 is fighting blindly to live. He'll need a miracle, and those are in short supply.
I'll give it four out of five. It's a quiet, tense short film, tightly focused on the battle of wills between the jaded Auditor, a career bureaucrat who cuts every corner he can, and the panicky, desperate 36. You can't help but cheer 36 on, or at least cheer for the Auditor to lose, since he's both cruel to 36 and supremely confident in his own superiority. It's an unsettling look at a possible future that wouldn't be easy to deal with, and it makes for excellent cinema.
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Review: Quality Control
January 28, 2017
Brought to you by Tin Mirror Productions, in a society where each clone life is disposable, one clone must fight for his continued existence. Directed by Joe LoBianco, written by Ammar Salmi and starring: Jason Andriola, Trevor James, Kenny Mahoney, Chelsea Quaranta, Charlie Sausa and Kim Solomine.
A strong opening is always an important factor in a short film, with a limited amount of time to make an impact the first few moments are vital; something which Joe LoBianco seems to be very aware of because the striking visuals of the opening credits grab your attention immediately. As the story begins it isn’t instantly clear what is going to happen to Clone #36 (Kenny Mahoney) or what he’s really done to get here but as soon as he steps into the dark, bare room you know it’s nothing good. The strong sense of self-preservation that’s being portrayed by Mahoney, despite the very little that’s known about the clone, manages to make you almost feel protective of him, you want him to survive and instantly you’re invested in the outcome.
The more surprising factor of the film is the structure of the story, Salmi has written a drama with an edge of futuristic sci-fi rather than the other way around, they’re aspects as a means to tell the story instead of something more unnecessarily complicated and vapid. The dialogue is relatively simple but it gives a good focus, one man holding the life of another (albeit a clone) in his hands, a man who is basically a faceless bureaucrat simply wanting to get the job done. Whoever’s choice it was to demonstrate that by having Auditor 451’s (Sausa) desk inhabited by toy dinosaurs is simply brilliant, it’s unusual but at the same time as soon as you see it, it makes perfect sense both for adding a little comedic value and irony.
Quality Control has a clear strong style running throughout, it’s minimalistic and takes real advantage of negative space to spearhead your focus and gain your sympathy, it massively enhances not only the visuals but also the plot; it manages to make a story about clones unexpectedly meaningful, it’s effective and most of all it’s enjoyable.
- A short film
In a society where clone life is insignificant and disposable, a human clone must fight for his very existence.
Director: Joe LoBianco
Starring: Kenny Mahoney & Charlie Sausa
Production Coordinator: Tom DiOrio
Story: Ammar Salmi
Editor: Vincent D'Bosco
Also appearing: Chelsea Quaranta, Jason Andriola and Trevor Jones
Marketing & Promotion: Bernie Furshpan