‘Approaching A Breakthrough’, the short film from Noah Pritzker, catches any city-dwellers worst nightmare. Rather than reveling in the anonymity of the city, Pritzker shows what happens when someone’s entire life collides with itself. It’s got an old-New York feel and a heavy Woody Allen influence. I mean, it’s bound to be Woody Allen-esque when a character runs into not one, but two of his old therapists.
“Tightly scripted and engagingly shot, Pritzker’s short is indelibly of its time while tipping its hat to cinema’s past,” Indie Wire says. “Kieran Culkin plays Norman, a young man running away from his debt as well as indecision. The film begins with a nuanced argument between Norman and his girlfriend Claire (Mae Whitman) about the struggle for autonomy in romantic relationships.”
But then things change. Soon there Norman runs into person after person from his past— including a jilted lover— constantly receiving commentary from his therapists on every interaction. It’s neurosis brought to life and, with the dense writing and solid performances, a basic premise serves as solid foundation for richer exploration.
“The initial idea for the short was to remake the subway chase scene in ‘The French Connection,’ only instead of a detective and a criminal, it would be a psychiatrist (or two, and then some others) and a derelict patient,” Pritzker told IndieWire.
Culkin carries the script, as with an understated and entertaining performance as Norman. “He was one of the best collaborators I’d ever met. Aside from being an amazing actor, he’s really generous on set with the crew and cast,” Pritzker told IndieWire. “They were all good sports, walking the stretch of Central Park over and over and over again even though it was 100 degrees in New York the two days we shot it.”
The film is only ten minutes and really worth a watch. You can see the whole thing here:
Woody Allen’s influence is still strong in New York-centric movies and, with ‘Approaching A Breakthrough’, Pritzker really does it justice.