Guthrert Vratrol has been waiting for the package delivering the much-needed can of compressed air to clean his keyboard with. But online superstore service "Congo Primo" is late with his package and his patience has run thin.
Taking matters into his own hands, Mr. Vrathol tries to intercept and hurry his package along. But in his attempts to speed things up, he just might endanger his own life.
Written and directed by Louis Norton Selzer, this smart, biting comedy short combines breezy absurdity with mordant wit to spin a contemporary yarn about an aspect of modern life that has bedeviled nearly all of us. In doing so, it offers a "primo" example of how little problems become big ones, no thanks to our human foibles.
Guided by an intricately written voiceover full of acerbic observations and amusing riffs, the film opens with an overhead shot of a man dying, having his last epiphany before drawing his last breath. A very cultured, erudite narrator tells us Vratrol's fleeting revelation: all good things come to those who wait. The problem, of course, is that for much of his life, Vratrol had no patience.
The storytelling then backtracks into Vratrol's effort to track down his late package, pulling us into what becomes a saga of consumerist expectations gone awry. The film finds humor in how Vratrol takes the minor inconvenience of a late package and whips it into a colossus of agony and catastrophe, a progression detailed by actor James Hyland's tightly-wound performance. Led by an energetic pace and editing, the narrative draws continual interest with terrific contrasts, from the hilarious and snooty narration to the antic pacing, and fans of Monty Python and the comedies of the Coen brothers will find much to like here.
The story also satirizes the immense complexity of the delivery system itself, from the online chat system's intricacy to the webbing of policies that make it impossible to track down a delayed box. Navigating this system whips Vratrol into a frenzy, but as the story proceeds, it also delves deep into the invisible architecture of hasty decisions that led to his premature demise. In his impatience with the inconveniences of life, Vratrol has taken many shortcuts and quick fixes -- some of which play a fateful role in his downfall.
Though his story is an absurd one, "The Impatient Man Who Made His Life Considerably Shorter" is, in many ways, an everyman, with an inability to weather the pockets of slow service and modern nonsense that many of us find relatable. Who hasn't gnashed their teeth at a misdirected package or felt fury at a tech-enabled snafu? But the short also makes a humorous yet pointed observation about the culture of convenience we've become accustomed to. When combined with imperfect technology and impersonal corporate profit maximization, it can lead to a toxic state of intense frustration so stressful that it may lead to an earlier demise -- one slower and less bloody than Vratrol's, but no less irritating.