3 Stars
Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 9 minutes
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In nearly as slick a fashion as is possible for a modern rendition of a film noir, “Sold” mimics the look, feel, and storytelling techniques of such great movies of this genre such as “Double Indemnity” and “D.O.A.”. Rife with catchphrases from the period, such as “jockey” used for salesmen and “Charlie” for average men, this short frames its homage with over the top comedy. For the most part, it works really well.

Mirroring the opening of “Double Indemnity”, “Sold” likewise employs the first person narrative of a doomed hero explaining how he came to this end. Our hero here, Herb Steltzman, was a cuckolded and unemployed door-to-door pencil salesmen until one day when a mysterious man offers to make him a salesman of automatic pencils. Dazzled by their plastic design and replaceable lead cartridges, Herb accepts the position. His fortunes then take a dramatic upswing as Herb sells more pencils than he can keep in stock. Everything seems to be going his way until the pencils implicate him in an international spy ring. He should have seen it coming.

The only shortcoming of this movie is its edging a little too far into the realm of slapstick for laughs. Still, “Sold” is a very funny and enjoyable short that appeals to a broad audience and features lighting and camera work which have to be seen to be appreciated.

Posted on March 2, 2004 in Reviews by

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