Slumlord is an action laced short film that focuses on Scott Roberts, who, on the run from gambling debts is subjected to one very, very lousy day.
Slumlord uses witty narration and some clever storytelling to condense a full day into roughly 15 minutes. This level of condensing works well as it allows the film to serve up suspense and action laden moments one after the other for the duration of the movie.
However, it also works against the film in ways. Some elements and relationships feel rushed. The main character’s relationship with his girlfriend is incredibly underdeveloped and while it’s not really necessary or crucial the film go into depth about it, it would be nice have a bit more substance there. In other areas it feels as if there are comedic moments waiting to be realized or elements of the story that weren’t allowed the proper time to mature and therefore feel a bit weak. If the film had taken its time in establishing Scott Robert’s relationships and who he is as a person Slumlord would have been a much more compelling and funny film.
Another problem is the soundtrack. It’s loud, intrusive, and frankly gets in the way. A great example of proper soundtrack use in films are movies such as The Royal Tenenbaums or Solaris (1972) in which every song or arrangement is used to the movies advantage and serves to highlight the characters and emotion not to distract the viewer from what’s onscreen.
The acting varies a bit but on the whole is good. Todd Adams does a very good job conveying emotion for what he has to work with and the film’s short length. It would be interesting to see what he could do with a longer and fleshier role. Nicole Barre playing the girlfriend is fine, certainly not a standout, but also not a detractor. Mario Di Gregorio who plays the slumlord Kalis Muhn works, but again isn’t brilliant in the role.
Slumlord has some very, very funny moments (Scott trying to talk is mom out of 20 grand, him taking a guy’s door off to make him pay the rent) but is hindered by a distracting soundtrack and a rushed feeling. Still, if you like short films this is definitely worth picking up. It will be interested to see what Justin S. Monroe and Daniel L. Sullivan who wrote and directed Slumlord will do next. With a few minor tweaks to their style this duo could create some very entertaining movies.