Coming to VOD, iTunes, Amazon online, Playstation and more providers May 1, Do Not Disturb is another one of those first time films with a little something going for it. If you’re interested in new voices, you’ll see a lot of promise in Mali Elfman’s debut.
Do Not Disturb is an anthology film with five stories set in one hotel room. The maid (Diva Zappa) connects the stories. Like most anthologies, some stories are better than others. DND has three out of five, so that’s ahead of the game.
My favorite was actually the very first vignette, “Duccio’s Madonna.” What begins as a seemingly standard negotiation between an escort and a john reveals a really human story. His fetish is more psychological, definitely not the stereotypical dominatrix, and way more interesting than that. The actors, Harris Goldberg and Maureen Flanagan, do a terrific job of drawing you in.
My other favorites were the fourth and fifth stories, which I didn’t even realize were two different stories because they blend so well together. “Intrinsic” and “Death Takes a Holiday Inn” begin with another interesting dance between two actors (Elfman and Jason Alan Smith) and it gets so weird, I won’t give this one away. It’s just an interesting situation and played out by actors who do a lot with a look or a line delivery.
I wasn’t into “Rocketman,” where Eric Balfour plays an astronaut freaking out in a Cronenberg-esque fantasy with understandably limited CGI but quite good makeup. I didn’t buy Balfour as someone who’s performed any kind of service. I believed Lindsay Pulsipher as the supportive wife, but their relationship in the story was weak. Balfour’s a big boy. He can take it. And he shouldn’t be the weak link as the steadily working “name” of the cast.
“Prom” is a more stream of consciousness style banal conversation between high school teenagers on a trip to L.A. Also not for me, but vastly different from “Intrinsic” and “Death” so there’s a full spectrum.
Obviously the limited setting gives away that this is an experimental film using the hook of a single room, and it’s a hotel room so it’s not that flashy. However, don’t undervalue the cinematography. There are two shots and simple revealing movements, but it makes Do Not Disturb look like a real movie. Elfman got a crew who’d worked through their practice on other people’s films so she got solid work out of them.
So if you’re scanning through the VOD menu, now you know what Do Not Disturb is. If you want to see some crazy shorts in the privacy of your own home, it’s only 73 minutes and you’ve got this assessment so it’s worth the risk.