Father Don, Tom Martin (“The Blacklist (TV)”, “Bull (TV)”), is no ordinary Father, in the evening he is a taxi-driver, providing the occasional user with a ride around town.
One day in church he receives a confession like no other as the person on the other side, he knows only it is a man, tells him he’s going to commit suicide just like his wife. His wife was a regular in the church, someone who loved to hear Father Don talk.
Father Don doesn’t know quite what to do, but offers the man help. The stranger replies he’ll be in church on Ash Wednesday and asks the Father to prove to him that god exists.
Wednesday’s sermon arrives and Father Don gives an impassioned talk, all the while trying to decide which of the men in the church is the mysterious confessor.
Acts of Contrition is a well-made short film, well directed by newcomer Stephen Bisaccia who also co-wrote alongside another newcomer, Gregory Hardman.
However, it doesn’t do what, in my humble opinion, either of the things a short film should do, that is, it neither leaves you wanting more, nor does it wrap things up nicely. In fact, it ended so abruptly that I thought my internet had died!
The ride-share / taxi elements seem out of place though, given that Don receives the news that one of his parishioners is going to kill themselves from a confession, at church, I’m unsure what the taxi element brings.
It does introduce us to Tony, Kevin Edward Miller, a homeless man who the Father picks up whilst he’s driving around, much to the disgust of his current passenger who is so disgusted with the smell he leaves the car.
The interaction between Tony and Don show there is more to the priest, that he appears to be hiding something, almost hiding it from himself. But a later taxi scene shows Don pick up a man who is heavily drunk, then him throwing up at the side of the car.
This latter scene, and one involving the Father playing a theremin, of all things, take you away from this main story of can a Father stop one of his parishioners from killing himself. It’s a shame as this side of the story, together with the directing, would have made for an interesting and, potentially, tense short film.