Mr. Video (2007) – By Duane L. Martin

Mr. Video is the story of a middle aged guy who runs a video store.  It’s not exactly a fully up to date video store since he still has a large selection of VHS tapes, but he does have a pretty wide clientelle of weirdos, hot chicks and everything in between.  One douche bag in particular comes in, acts like a jerk spouting off to another customer about how he’s seen a movie the store owner recommended to her pirated online and how its sucks, he has the nerve to want to rent a movie.  The guy doesn’t want to rent to him because he’s only house sitting for another guy who has a ton of late fees racked up, so the guy leaves.

When the guy shows up again drunk later that night after the shop is closed and wants again to rent a movie, the shop owner tries to get him to go away, but finally lets him in after he throws a drink all over the window.  What the drunken idiot gets though wasn’t exactly what he expected.  He just wanted to rent a movie, not be in one.  Soon he finds himself tied up in the chair in the basement, and after a rant from the store owner about how pirates like him are ruining the industry, he brings in this other weirdo to work the guy over and torture him to death while the shop owner makes a video of it, which is then given out to one "special" customer who pays him off handsomely for making snuff videos.

While Mr. Video is well shot and decently acted, the story is a bit on the weak side.  It’s not horrible or anything, just a little weak.  It was generally amusing seeing all the strange customers the guy has to deal with all day, and I kind of wish it had stuck to that and stayed a light comedy.  The whole thing with taking the douche bag down to the basement and tying him to a chair while going on an anti-piracy rant just didn’t work all that much for me.  I couldn’t tell if the whole message behind it was that piracy was ruining the industry, or was a metaphor for how brutal the MPAA, RIAA and other such organizations have become in dealing with people.  Then again, it could have just been a part of the story with any real message only there as an incidental element of the plot.

On a technical level, the film is quite well made and has a nice look to it.  The editing keeps it moving along nicely, although I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of some of the weirdo customers, which I actually found to be the most entertaining part of the film.  The lighting was good, the sound was clear and understandable, and generally all the technical elements were there.

Coming in at a small fifteen minute running time, this film is actually a proper length more or less for what it is.  The story fits well within that time frame and doesn’t feel like anything’s been stretched out unnecessarily.  While this was a well made film however, I don’t know that’d I’d go out of my way to see it.  This is the kind of a film that I’d enjoy seeing at a film festival if it happened to be playing while I was there, but not really one I’d actively seek out.