User Reviews (6)

Add a Review

  • david-rosberg3 January 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    IFC just showed this yesterday on their short showcase. What a great use of silence and expression, rather than relying on dialog. The punchline is wickedly funny as well. The director's use of ambient sound, combined with the sound of the phone answering machine and the looks on the faces of the couple receiving the bad news works perfectly. The non-stop pitch of the all-too smarmy salesman comes at a perfect time, and seems to encapsulate, for the couple the source of their troubles, which have brought them to the brink of disaster. The somewhat grainy black and white cinematography is a nice touch, taking a specific incident and couple and making them a timeless representation of the frustrations that many couples have.
  • The story is dramatic, funny and surprising. Most of the story is told through the expressions on the actors faces. Paul Lazar plays the door-to-door book peddler with a perfect balance of assertiveness, insecurity, and weirdness.
  • I was lucky enough to see "the Debt" on Bravo a few years ago. I was blown away by the concise story, impressive storytelling, and beautiful photography and have been searching for information on the film ever since. I don't know if it's available at all, but it's a bravura short and deserves to get more play. Kudos to Mr. Almeida.
  • This is an excellent short that shows the writer's attentiveness to the social and political problem represented by the mounting US public death - counted by the marquee-sized debt clock in Times Square, NYC - and how «your family share» is affected, after being itself part of the cause of the problem.

    One bleak Friday, a couple arrives home from home and listen to the voice-recorded unattended telephone calls from a number of people: the credit card company, the bank, the husband's office, the husband's lover, the wife's life insurance company... Each is disturbing enough in itself, but heard in a crescendo to the unexpected - and extremely revealing ones - it makes something only comparable to the best of the short, crispy, made-for-TV Alfred Hitchcock episodes.

    À la Hitchcock, the story ups to a grim finale, with crisp editing, up to 2-frames-per-cut. The lab's experienced editing assistants didn't believe it could be done - as told November 15, 2010, at the film's show at the Portuguese Cinematech by the Director, Bruno de Almeida. He imposed that daring-do in editing. He won! The 35mm film didn't disintegrate, and the result is terrific! Again, as in the best thrillers, the eye-to-eye, revolver-to-revolver confrontation by the not-so-loving husband and wife, will not end in that grim finale.

    As in real life, a book-peddler appears at their door, proposing them to buy (to buy - to buy - the cause of their overburdening debt) just one more book, that will save their lives, and assure them a bright future. Yes, they can! For a moment, their grim faces change. Unfortunately, as for the US, the reasons to believe in a bright future are short-lived - as are the three lives in this short.

    With three false finales, and almost no words from the principals whose facial and body expressions are exaggerated as if this was an old Harold Lloyd's comic, we are fully served.

    Because the Director's was living in NYC then, and possibly in love with that city where he chose to carve a career away from The System, he chose to film some plans of the 6th Avenue, with the debt clock, and the Twin Towers in the distance amidst the other engulfing sky-scrapers.

    Thus, it also makes this short of extreme actuality in 2010. First, since the 9/11 the Twin Towers are no more part of NY's skyline. Second, the debt clock has been moved to another location, and modified since it came to a halt due to failure in keeping with the over US$10 trillion number in 2008, and the new clock is more performing, but less impressive than the first clock was. Third, «your family share» of the (seemingly) unstoppable Debt is still mounting.

    Amidst tales of «sex, lies, and mounting debt», at individual, and global scale. So much in 12 minutes. The nine prizes the film got already are OK, but it should be brought to wider audiences, in theaters and television.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a very dark short film. It begins with the viewer hearing the phone messages left for a particular couple. All of the calls are from collection agents and it's obvious that the couple is in a severe financial crisis. As you see and hear the couple, it's obvious that their marriage isn't doing particularly well, as the final call is from the husband's mistress! As a major fight is about to erupt, the doorbell rings and a salesman enters the home and begins pitching a book on success! The couple is ticked off--especially because when he enters, the two are holding guns on each other and they are now unsure whether to kill each other or the annoying salesman! All this ends with a terrific punchline.

    While I am not quite as thrilled with the film as the featured review, it was very entertaining and filled with irony. See this one if you get a chance--it's been on the Independent Film Channel lately.
  • I enjoy short movies, so I specially tuned in to IFC to watch The Debt. I was completely unimpressed. It was in the obligatory black and white of indie shorts. It tried to maintain a style of retro-metro, much like Pulp Fiction did, only not done well. The story was just confusing, and for such a basic one, it leads me to believe it just wasn't told well. The directing was nothing out of the ordinary, although sometimes that isn't a bad thing, this was just bland.