“Two Cents & A Footlong ” is an interesting short film written and directed by Kanin Guntzelman, which takes place within the walls of a 24-hour sandwich shop attended to by the amicable character, Lenny (played by Saul Trujillo).
The film dives into the profound encounter between Lenny and Roger (played by George Russo), a depressed insomniac who stumbles into the shop at 4 in the morning.
From the moment Roger enters and places his order, the audience is drawn into a whirlwind of emotions as a seemingly innocent question from Lenny sets off a chain reaction of introspection and existential crisis. Russo‘s portrayal of Roger is hauntingly raw, capturing the essence of a man teetering on the edge of despair.
As Roger begins to unload his burdens onto Lenny, the film skillfully delves into themes of loneliness, human connection, and the unpredictability of life’s struggles.
The simple yet profound question, “Are you happy? In the grand scheme of things,” resonates not only with Lenny but also with the audience, prompting introspection and reflection on our own lives.
As they converse, a elegantly dressed woman enters the sandwich shop, possibly returning home from a night out. Despite her appearance, it becomes evident that she too is grappling with personal struggles. This becomes particularly apparent when Roger erupts in frustration as Lenny attempts to prevent him from oversharing, out of concern for the comfort of the new customer.
The tension that arises when Roger‘s outburst disrupts the brief respite of connection between Lenny and the new customer is palpable, showcasing the film’s ability to navigate the nuances of human emotion.
Despite its confined setting, the film’s production design effectively creates an immersive environment that includes a well-stocked condiments and ingredients area enough to stir cravings for a sandwich. I, for one, found myself raving a sandwhich while watching this film.
The performances of the entire cast are commendable, with each actor breathing life into their respective roles.
“Two Cents & A Footlong” not only entertains but also delivers a poignant message about the importance of kindness and empathy since you can never exactly tell what another person might be dealing with.
The film’s title itself suggests a play on words, hinting at the small value placed on human interaction (the “two cents”) and the ordinary nature of the sandwich shop and order (the “footlong”), against the backdrop of the interaction between the two central characters, Lenny and Roger.
While the film’s themes are ripe for exploration in a feature-length format, its impact is undeniably potent as a short film. It serves as a reminder to cherish the fleeting moments of connection that have the power to change lives. It also adds that you have to keep on living regardless of how gloomy things might seem because you never know when a day will come when things will be different.
In the end, “Two Cents & A Footlong“, I believe deserves a 4 out of 5 stars for its compelling storytelling, powerful performances, and thought-provoking themes.
While it touches on themes I would eagerly anticipate seeing expanded in a feature-length format, its effectiveness as a short film is undeniable. Hopefully, its impact resonates deeply with all who have the opportunity to view it.