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To gauge a truly good film, I always ask how well was the story told? No matter the budget or cast, if the story isn't developed correctly and told in a profound way it can lose its momentum quickly.

Prisoner of Fear tells a beautiful story in 20 minutes.

The Sad Clown Productions and Michael D’Ercole films short stars Mark Rodriguez as Martin, an anxiety ridden man who is literally losing his shit on what seems like a daily basis. He's taking pills and drinking his way through the fear of socializing and living a "normal" life.

Because its a short film, I won’t give too much away but one thing I really liked about Prisoner of Fear was the evident character progression in Martin. He seemed to really want to be better and to break free from his internal prison. We see him turn his want into action the day after a very painful evening of stress and self guilt.

The filmmakers may have had one idea on how Prisoner of Fear should be portrayed but it seems like different audience interpretations of what happens in a pivotal scene makes it equally impactful (you’ll know what I mean when you watch the full movie )

Rodriguez isn't the most seasoned actor but you wouldn't be able to tell. He fully embodies Martin and you feel every bit of his anxiety and pain. You feel his struggle and awkwardness. It's an almost immediate connection which is so important in short films. The comic relief comes when Nick (Dana Abraham) enters the office as Martin’s new intern. His silly demeanor gives a great break from the sad tone but we also see how genuinely kind and loyal he is.

Prisoner of fear is a necessary narrative. Many times we are so caught up in our own lives, our insta-feeds and our tinder apps to truly see what others are dealing with.

“I hope people become more empathetic after watching this film and that it urges them to act before it's too late. The last line is Martin's boss leaving him a voicemail saying "I hope you're alright". Although it's a nice gesture, it's not enough. We never know what someone else is going through, and I think if we all learn to take an extra step to check in on those around us, we'll save a lot of lives.”

-Mark Rodriguez (Martin)


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