They say it’s all about timing and once again writer, director, and producer Murphy Rhodes shows he’s got that down to a fine art with his latest short film which hits home just as, well, we are all at home with a pandemic apparently raging around us.
With An Injection a Day, Rhodes picks up on the theme that if you want to catch something then go to hospital and cleverly transfers it to a doctors surgery with a twist: when Dr Rice (Kate Benfield) informs the Patient (Blake McKenzie) that he’s already got it and some, the only saving grace from the aptly named reapers is to undergo a course of treatment. Daily. For five weeks. Weekends too in case you were wondering. Oh, but don’t worry, the Doctors Assistant (Rob McLean) points out, there’s even a payment plan – or two – to help you get on board. Uncertain? Don’t worry, there’s an added dose of emotional blackmail and the ever so friendly medical staff also know a trick or two to convince you.
And that is the crux of the piece amid the current turmoil we are all living through: what is the truth? Who do you believe? Whilst we all get annoyed with the fake stories rattling round on social media, we all quite happily circulate the one or two – from a good friend, I mean they wouldn’t share any old thing, would they? – that might hint at what is really going on. Turn on the television and the government, in line with their special advisors, will peddle you their latest position and advice. Yeah, don’t worry if contradicts what they told you yesterday, it’s good for 24 hours until the next time.
So, what is the truth? Well like you and me, Rhodes doesn’t know either, but he pens a clever piece that highlights the hypocrisy running through all of this. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one. No, really, you don’t.
The cast deliver strong performances with Benfield suitably patronising with her insightful knowledge whilst McLean provides just the right balance of scary. McKenzie’s believable frustration allows him to easily reflect any one of us. Director of Photography Ben Chan perfectly frames each scene with some clever use of focus, shadow, and darkness. I wondered initially about the surgery setting but on reflection that really just captures the snake oil aspect of all this, and it doesn’t taste nice. Nor should it.
At just shy of five minutes it ended too quickly for my liking and when you hear yourself disappointed then you know you’re on to a good thing. What is interesting here is whether Rhodes wants to turn it into a longer piece or even perhaps a series: either is possible, and I look forward to seeing what he does with it.
The film is dedicated to the memory of Patrick Murphy (1962-2019) and whose song ‘No Frills’ provides the accompanying soundtrack.
Reviewer: Mark Davoren
Reviewed: 4th April 2020
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★