It’s the day of the football championships and the Dandy family — all diehard football fans — is celebrating together.
Suddenly, their day of football is interrupted by a smooth-talking robber. But the home invasion goes awry, thanks to an unexpected standoff that flips the script in more ways than one.
Director Tannaz Hazemi’s inventive short subverts expectations on multiple levels, both formally and intellectually. It hits all the marks of strong craft, blending a sun-bleached, almost vintage approach to cinematography with clever writing and sly, energetic performances.
With the help of an excellent score, it deftly blends elements of comedy and thriller, shifting from tense and scary to goofy and hilarious on a dime with skill and wit.
But one of the most distinctive aspects of the film is its hilarious, even slapstick take on gender expectations. The Dandy women are the diehard fans who drink beer and yell at the screen, while the men of the family cook and mind the kids. And the film’s antagonist is also a woman — one who surrounds herself with a group of ridiculously beefcake male cronies. Seeing the two opposing sets of characters face off in a battle of power and machismo is both a great very funny and smartly satirical, allowing us both to think and laugh at the expectations we set around gender.
The result is a well-crafted, quirky and singular short with a unique tone and style, with both the narrative chops to grip audiences with tension and entertain them with deadpan humor. Enjoyable, provocative and supremely witty, “Hail Mary Country” is a singular cinematic experience that combines subversive smarts with a sense of good fun for a wildly joyful ride.