TIFF15 REVIEW: Never Happened [2015]

Score: 8/10 | ★ ★ ★

Rating: NR | Runtime: 8 minutes | Release Date: 2015 (Canada)
Studio: LaRue Entertainment
Director(s): Mark Slutsky
Writer(s): Mark Slutsky

“Where’s my other earring?”

For eight minutes Mark Slutsky makes sure he has us right where he wants us. Never Happened is so precisely measured in its construction and revelations that we don’t even know its true genre until the very end. Yes there’s comedy and romance and drama in its plot concerning two business partners engaging in a sexual relationship while out of town for a meeting, but their decision to forget the encounter brings with it a much larger understanding of the world in which they live than merely lying to your spouse exposes. And if that’s not enough Slutsky goes even further with a final shot causing us to wonder exactly how much of the lives these characters live is actually being lived for the first time.

The movie obviously attracted a recognizable cast with TV stars Mia Kirshner and Anna Hopkins from “Defiance” and Aaron Abrams from “Hannibal” because of its well-executed twist and the deceivingly meaty roles it provides. Abrams’ Grady and Hopkins’ Sharon go about their reunion at home like nothing happened while his recounting the lie mixes with flashbacks to the truth between he and Kirshner’s Laura. A lot of the short’s success stems from his performance, flipping back and forth from fact and fiction to really have us buy his deceit and hate him for what he’s doing. To eventually learn why he’s so good at it should make us despise him more, but the brilliance of the circumstances impresses instead. After all, if no one knows that it happened, did it really?

Courtesy of TIFF

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