Alone in his apartment, a man is slowly going mad. He's listening to the neighbours fight through the walls when a man on his TV is talking to him. The lonely man begins to hurt himself. When his female neighbour knocks on his door to get help, he attacks her.
I've only seen the feature "Modified" by Paul Cotrulia. That was a movie I wasn't too fond of and it was mainly due to things that the filmmaker was very aware of. It did carry its style nicely, however, and that's ultimately what made me curious about Paul Cotrulia's new short film. Not to mention the title is spawning some questions on its own.
"Masochist" is about a lonely man who sits in his apartment. He suffers from his loneliness, and it's getting to his head. He hears the neighbours fight and slowly moves his hand down his pants, but retrives it quickly after. A man on his TV reveals himself, and the man talks down to him, telling him to hurt himself. He starts cutting his wrists, flaying his skin... His female neighbour is sneaking out of her apartment and knocks on our lead's door to get help, but when she enters his apartment she is met by a horrific sight.
It has a few uncomfortable scenes and the idea is intriguing. Being a short film it can't go fully into it, but the movie covers enough in its 14 min runtime. It's nice to see a different pace from Paul Cotrulia, and one that he can handle better at that. Though never extreme, shocking or too violent, the movie certainly dives into some dark places.
The lead actor, Dirk Schilling, brings out two polar opposites as the lonely man and the man on the TV, and it's the thread that keeps "Masochist" together. It's a strong performance and one that comes off as believable. The only real negative part of the short is that some of the "action-y" scenes are played a bit awkward. Probably due to trying to match certain cues. One scene where the girl is hit is also not that well made and seems a bit silly to be honest. It's the old "punch someone off screen and cut to that person reacting to it". It could've been edited better. Same goes for a certain stab scene.
"Masochist" is a much more entertaining film than "Modified", but then it's also way shorter. I don't know Paul Cotrulia as a filmmaker yet, having seen two different movies and formats, but he has still got me interested to check out future projects of his. I guess one more movie will be needed for me to have a vague idea of what he is and does. "Masochist" is an effective short film that never goes too far, but far enough to be unsettling. Its only flaw is on the technical side rather than in its heart and soul.