“The left is so indoctrinated into the cult of their own moral purity that they’re not living in reality,” Right Wing Shock Commentator Sammy Geller, stunningly played by Madeline Brewer, sneers in an news media type interview at the start of PRUNING. “Sexism, racism everywhere.”
“The facts do not add up, but they don’t want to hear it, because if they do, they lose their victimhood and their victimhood is their power. When a leaf on a plant rots, you have to prune it or the plant will die.”
“If America is a plant, radical left ideology is the disease that’s killing it. These fascists want to muzzle your free speech, strip away your rights, and take over our country, all in the name of authoritarian tolerance. We must find a way to prune the rot before it’s too late.”
“The media won’t do it. Our elected officials won’t do it. It’s up to us. I’m Sammy Geller. I’m a proud American, and as always, thanks for being a freethinker.”
Sammy Geller makes a lucrative living because of an enthralled, adoring and ever expanding fanbase titillated by her rat-tat-tat ranting. The Geller character seems modeled after gun-toting, ready-to-shoot Marjorie Taylor Green, though the filmmakers’ Geller character is much more classy. It’s easy to imagine how she could be ferociously more ruthless than MTG if she was in real life: It’s because Geller has brains.
Sometime after the broadcast, a weaponized lone wolf guns downs several innocent people and cites Geller as his muse. Left and right news media go bonkers with reports of the slaughter, feeding public alarm. Geller is denounced and, simultaneously, extolled with praise, electrifying that Ying-Yang-ing frenzy that can lead to fattened paychecks for top-of-the-line commanding personalities like Sammy Geller.
Geller, in a sense, mows down commentators and pundits in broadcast, nose-to-nose interviews – but falters with one nemeses: Her conscience. If only it would let her be free. Audiences about this time in the 14:53-minute film short should get ready for a curveball, jaw-dropping plot twister that caused this reviewer to recall The Outer Limits TV Show.
Back to the story: When loathe-sayers accuse Geller of being the impetus for the mass murder and castigate her for not apologizing for her role in the murders, Geller insists to the world that the murderer was a mentally ill nutcase acting on his own warped muses – and she refuses to accept any blame.
Yet, she rationalizes and rationalizes to herself that same reasoning over and over, that she’s not the blame … but her conscience won’t let up on her – “ultimately culminating in her choice,” according to the filmmakers, “to get rid of it altogether.”
She rips “its” head off in a grisly scene. Cowabunga to be sure! OMG! The Outer Limits. Metaphorically? Literally?
That the filmmakers can impressively make cinematically plausible what would be searingly implausible in the hands of less gifted movie makers reflects their incredible cinematic moxie. Their scenes of Geller dealing with her conscience are fabulously rendered. Their cinematic wizardry had them preparing the big surprise for audiences with foreshadowing, short scene snippets. Of course, not everyone in an audience would be picking up on this. And the ending is another Cowabunga!
To say anymore to WORD readers about the big surprise wouldn’t necessarily count as a spoiler but this reviewer isn’t doing it. YOU MUST SEE THE MOVIE! One of the best of the best 2023 must-see movies in this season of sizzling film fests.
Which brings me to this about the filmmakers and the big surprise and the cinematography, production values, acting, story, story line and all the rest that must come together for a great movie: Wow! Wow! Wow! Take me to your leader! There should be a new genre for blow your mind filmmakers like Lola Blanc: Beyond Belief Derring-Do is my suggestion.
To be screened in the Palm Springs International Shortfest June 24 – before moving on to additional festivals.
Gregg W. Morris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com