“STEAK KNIVES”— Some Birthday!!

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“Steak Knives”

Some Birthday!

Amos Lassen

How do we know what is the right birthday gift? Here we have a short film about a man whose life is threatened by his wife when he gives her steak knives as a birthday gift. Steak knives seem like a great gift—knives are like underwear—one never has enough.

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At Katrine’s (Audrey Noone) party, everything was fine until people left and John (David Afflick) learns that his wife is none too pleased with his gift. They have been married some fourteen years but it seems that Katrine was expecting something other than a set of knives that do not represent much to her. She thinks about a possible different use for her gift—something for which these knives were not intended. Katrine is well aware that John is totally in her power. Up until this point John had been a good husband except for that time two years before when he had a bit of a dalliance with another woman. However, Katrine is not one who forgives easily…

The entire movie runs less than four minutes yet it tells a story with surprises. The cast does a fantastic bit of acting and it is amazing how much they do in such a short time. For that director Chris Esper gets credit. For a film that is shorter than what it takes me to make a cup of coffee is absolutely astonishing. What I really found interesting is thinking about whether this is a drama or a comedy or both. There is something exciting to be held in suspense for just four minutes and when I went back to watch a couple of more times, it took me longer to write down what I saw than to actually see it.

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Immediately we enter a world that seems serene but we soon realize that this is not the case at all. From serenity we move to suspense and ultimately to the deed. I was sorry to see the film end—it managed to pull me is so deeply and quickly. Because the story is so farfetched it is believable (if you understand what I mean by that). Sure the murder is an exaggeration of a response of a wife who does not forge the past. I was reminded of a short Hitchcock in which a woman killed her husband with a leg of lamb that she then cooked and invited the police to eat.

Granted the film is exaggerated yet it remains chilling to a degree and this is what I think makes me like it. As we watch it our minds change and any director who is capable of pulling that off in less than four minutes is a director to watch. After all were we not at a party where everyone seemed to be having a good time? We certainly were not anticipating murder.

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Suddenly Katrine is frustrated and irate—her eyes open wide, she movies from crying to sarcasm; she grabs a knife…. and everything changes. We are shocked by the unexpected and we remain that way.

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