Jeff Perreca’s A Smaller Big Bang, a 9-minute action-comedy set within the bounds of a night that, if the protagonists have their way, will end with the permanent removal of their significantly hated others. Both husband and wife intend for that evening’s dinner to be the last for each other, such is the disgust that has seeped into the marriage. But the story is not about them alone.
The silky, venom-laced insults that Caroline (Louiza Zouzias) and Dustin (Gabe Fonseca) direct at each other is leagues away from the matter of fact approach of the assassins headed their way. Caroline has hired Tara (Djaka Souaré), a knife wielding krav maga fan; for Dustin, it is the all-American Leonard (John L. Curtis), loud and gun favouring, no silencer in sight. Neither spouse knows of the other’s plans, and yet as though soulmates moving in tandem, both have arranged hits on the same night. As the night wears on, the two narrative threads parallel each other, the hope of death everywhere.
Yet, their bloodthirst is devoid of aggression. That they leave to their assassins, presumably. Instead, they ooze refinement. It would have perhaps been more in-character if they had poisoned the wine and dessert that they so politely, nearly seductively, proffer each other. The couple resembles Morticia and Gomez Addams, if the latter had built a reputation based on their hatred for each other.
But the difference is at the crux of the film’s appeal. It roots its comedy not only in Caroline and Dustin’s soul-deep hatred for each other, but also in the silent fight that ensues right outside their bedroom door when the two assassins clash. Old, icy bitterness juxtaposed with a brand new connection—forged through lethal combat—reveals the ironies that go hand in hand with romance.
So A Smaller Big Bang takes the mundanity of marital bitterness, gives the drama an entertaining comic edge. Caroline and Dustin could not control the direction of their marriage and happiness, and as it turns out, they could not even control their hired assassins. The chaos is silent, even anticlimactic, but the birth of something new remains fact while the old continues, even somewhat changed by events within and outside.
Watch A Smaller Big Bang Short Film Trailer
A Smaller Big Bang: Relationships Die and are (Re)Born