Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Producer, David Munz-Maire for sending me an online screener to the 8-minute Crime/Mystery/Thriller short “The Hobbyist”, Written and Directed by George Vatistas. A mystery man (played by Daniel Mitura in his first short film) walks into a vintage chemist late at night, in search of a particular individual (Robert W. Smith) who supposedly possesses an undetectable poison. What starts out as a simple transaction, quickly spirals into chaos as hidden agendas arise.
Maire, a Writer/Producer, and Director (among other things) was kind enough to reach out to AdamTheMovieGod seeking a review for some of the work his production company “Airebedd” has put out in recent years. The Hobbyist serves as Vatistas’s debut short film and it’s an impressive one at that. Cinematographer, Ryan De Franco has built quite a career in short filmmaking and his vast skillset is well and truly on display here. Everything is nicely framed and the shot choices are simple but productive. The audio track is controlled and Robert Eletto’s score is something entirely new. He invokes a sort of magical essence to the sound of keys and adds what sounds like individually plucked notes on a harp. Mitura and Smith’s performances are lively and believable, and the story takes an interesting intriguing direction.
On the downside, I was a bit disappointed that George conveyed central information disclosed between the pair of men via intentional inaudible dialogue. Some viewers are likely to want to hear the details Sangstrom (Mitura) shares with the chemist. It’s no great mystery though as things start to unfold, but I still think the drama may have hit home a little harder had Vatistas went the other way. It could have even served as a point of exposition for Sangstrom to elaborate on having carried out previously tried means before actually resorting to the toxin. There’s a scene displaying Sangstrom standing around waiting for the shopkeeper, done so through a rather simple time lapse. I think a few more diverse shot choices to further highlight his stress levels during that time would have been of benefit.
The Hobbyist is a stylish little short from 2016 and a wonderful debut film from Vatistas. The script has a hint of the criminally underrated “Five Fingers” about it, and the presentation is even reminiscent of something like “Predestination” (one of my favorite science fiction films). The camera work is slick, the audio is clean, and Eletto’s score is one of the standout features. The performances are both good and the narrative is engaging despite a couple of missed opportunities. I could have gone for some more back and forth discourse between the two characters and the inclusion of a few more frames would’ve helped drive the suspense. All in all, this is a great little film and I urge people to check out the teaser trailer below and keep an eye out for the release, Enjoy!
My rating for “The Hobbyist” is 8/10