The Problem Isn’t with the Ski Masks in ‘Big Criminals’

The act of forgetting ski masks has unintended consequences for the bumbling criminals in Simon Dymond’s short film Big Criminals.

Here we go again; another crime caper film that makes me wonder what it would take to pull off a big robbery or at least a clean getaway. There are many things to consider and chief among them is a disguise or a way to conceal your identity. It could be grand like how the robbers disguise themselves in The Killing, Point Break or The Dark Knight. Or, it could just be as simple as ski masks, something that is cheap, but effective in covering your face. Regardless of what route one takes, it won’t matter a lick if you forget them. Your robbery would then already be off to a bad start as displayed in Big Criminals.

Big Criminals starts with two people, Rory and Cleo, presumably a couple, in a car right before a robbery. Rory will be doing the job and Cleo will be the getaway driver. Everything is a go until Rory asks Cleo for the ski mask, to which she replies, “I thought you were going to pack the ski mask.” Immediately it feels doomed, but luckily Cleo acts fast and flips out her make up kit. Rory’s “Don’t you even think about it” is to no use. No matter how agonizing, the makeover will be the least of Rory’s problems.

Big Criminals has a unique back-story. According to the filmmakers, it was the result of a music video shoot being delayed at the last minute. Not wanting to cancel on the crew or the cast, the filmmakers wrote the script on a Friday evening and then shot the short over that Saturday and Sunday, much like a 48 Hour Film Project, though they had all the time in the world for post production. Big Criminals felt like a 48 Hour Film Project and that is in no way shape or form an insult. It had energy and a “go, go, go” mentality that I felt was beneficial to the story. Much like the plan of the two would be criminals, the film had a “on the fly” feel that added some good tension and clever comedy, both in dialogue and slap stick, from Rory forcing the cashier to make him a sandwich as he pillages the diner’s cash register to the car stalling on Cleo’s first getaway attempt.

Needless to say, I watched Big Criminals with a smile. It wasn’t the best comedy crime caper I had ever seen, but it was a fun one and as the end credits rolled I was laughing. Peter Radford and Melissa Armstrong gave us a good time and I suspect they had a good time making it. I think the same could be said for the entire cast and crew. Big Criminals is a fun movie to watch, so I can imagine it was fun to make.

Big Criminals is a darkly fun short film that has some good quality energy and hearty laughs in its four-minute runtime and is a fine addition to the canon of dark comedy crime films.

Dan Nelsen

Dan is a graduate of Kent State University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors. He holds a degree in Media Production. He is currently a freelance videographer and video editor.

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