Written and directed by Enzo Cellucci and Ash McNair, Class is a short film that takes a brief peek into the carefully crafted microcosm of one man’s acting class. This mini melodrama started out quiet and unassuming but added on unexpected layers of tension and intensity.
In Class, a man named Adam (David Krumholtz) attends his first acting lesson alone, only sitting and observing at first as the class goes through their exercises. Though some exchanges are more awkward than others, he remains and is eventually called upon to improvise a solo scene. After Adam fails to deliver it to the satisfaction of the class’s demanding teacher, Max (Enzo Cellucci), he is subjected to a hard-hitting exercise designed to break him out of his shell.
It is the kind of film that shows off stage-play-type performances, where it is not just acting but “acTING”, and in that, Class becomes meta as it seems to poke fun at the exploratory and dramatic nature of acting classes. Max is a formidable teacher character, with Enzo Cellucci playing the angry British mentor character type perfectly, leading his band of unmerry but loyal men and women through different human experiences to sharpen their acting skills.
The framing for much of the film was great, making the confined space of a small acting class feel like a wide arena with a thousand eyes watching and judging. The lighting was also done well, its dim look helping to set Class’ stuffy and mysterious atmosphere. The tension is slowly turned up, and by the middle of the film, high-strung violins (like something from many A24 trailers) chime in, sounding the beginning of the more passionate exchanges in its finale.
The story seemed too brief to finish making its point as it ended just as abruptly as it began, however, its air of mystery tinged the atmosphere with tension that teased cult-horror, only it never quite showed the goods. However, despite not being as terrifying as I would have liked, the film did have surreal moments that were used as catalysts for the actors reaching their performance nirvana, so to speak. Sometimes intense and at other times darkly and awkwardly comedic, these moments were where Class shined.
7 out of 10