Short Film Review : 12:01 P.M. (1990)

Directed By – Jonathan Heap
Starring – Kurtwood Smith and Laura Harrington
Academy Award Nominee for Live Action Short Film

A man is stuck living his life in the same 59 minute time frame. He tries various methods of finding out why, eventually consulting a physicist.

So I recently viewed some short films from this years Tribeca Film Festival. I decided not to write about them due to the fact that they are hard to find and it would be easier to post the actual movie on here so that readers can view the film themselves before or after reading what I have to say. Unfortunately there weren’t many films I could find that had a full viewing that I could post on here, so I decided to find some other films to write about. I stumbled across “12:01” and gave it a shot. It was nominated for an Oscar and also features a sci-fi plot. That coupled with Kurtwood Smith, who may or may not have stuck his foot up someones ass, and I had all the reasons in the world to watch it.

I have to get the obvious over with first. This is a lot like Groundhog Day. Actually, it almost is Groundhog Day. The only real difference is that instead of an entire day that gets repeated, Mr. Forman gets to relive the same hour over and over again, beginning at 12:01 P.M. Now, considering it’s less than a half hour long and is available for your viewing pleasure RIGHT ABOVE, I’m going to talk about the film a bit more in depth. So please, watch the film and then continue reading.

So, back to Mr. Forman. He has a different name in the film but I’m going to refer to him as Mr. Forman throughout this thing so get used to it. Mr. Forman is not Bill Murray. There really isn’t any comedy involved in this entire short film. He is distraught. First of all the universe decides to be the biggest asshole it can be and not only makes him the only person who remembers what happens after the hour restarts, but also leaves him in the middle of a goddamn intersection twenty minutes away from where he works. He starts out by going to the park and by the time he ends up anywhere near a phone the whole hour has almost gone by. Not to mention he has probably the worst secretary on the planet. Did you watch the film yet? Holy shit. How annoying is that woman? I literally screamed when he called her a bitch. I was like, “TAKE THAT BITCH! YOU TELL HER RED!” Groundhog day had Bill Murray carving ice sculptures and learning piano and french poetry and stuffing his face with cake. Now, I loved seeing this. Groundhog Day is one of my favorite comedies ever. However, we didn’t get a lot of “Why the fuck is this happening to me?” moments which is the main theme in “12:01”. I mean, we got some montage of Bill throwing himself off a clocktower and taking a bubble bath with Mr. Toaster, but other than that it was a romantic comedy, and a superb one at that.

No, this is more serious. The man is pretty much having a nervous breakdown throughout the entire film. He is desperate to not live forever and he is willing to die trying. The film played like an episode of The Twilight Zone more towards the end as Mr. Forman has started to give up on finding a cure and starts behaving erratically, hence verbally shoving his foot up that cows ass. There are some nice moments, like his conversation with the too lovely to be a human being Delores in the park. Seriously, that woman shoudl have been the first sign that the universe is fucked up. She was nicer than Jesus.

The film ended as it began, with Red Forman staring at traffic as another hour begins. The dude can’t even kill himself. What he thought was a chance at a recurring divinity is really a cruel joke played by the universe. It’s a deep and bleak short film but the kind of short films/stories I love. It almost reminded me of “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson; not in subject matter, but in straight forward bleakness. It’s a great little film.


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