“Please Punish Me”
A Blessed Businessman
I am always amazed by the way some short films can so much in a small period of time. “Please Punish Me” is only about 15 minutes long but it does a lot.
This is a about a businessman who is so blessed that he looks for a way to be punished for his “curse”. This is a story with heart and humanity and about succeeding in a field that was not the one wanted.
Scottie (David Sackal) is a man with dreams and ambitions, something that so many of us have when young. Somehow, we tend to lose those ambitions and dreams and replace them with something that brings us money. It is then that we remember that money does not necessarily mean happiness. Scottie does not really care for his job—he just goes through the motions of working to achieve the financial rewards that work brings.
It seems to me that this short film has two faces—one of these is seeing the world that Scottie lives in as opposed to the one he is about to enter. This is something of a world that is “blah”, i.e. there is no excitement and not much happens in it. This is the world we see in which corporate America resides with every thinking about his world and not about anyone else’s. The other world is one of colors but for Scottie it is uncomfortable and he does not feel at home in it.
Scottie sees himself as cursed— for most people good luck is a blessing but for Scottie it is a blessing. As I said he works and succeeds at a job he is not interested in. He barely works and he is still elected as a board member (the youngest in the company’s history). Instead of accepting a promotion, he leaves the job and his boss, Steinberg (Bradley Rhodes) thinks that his doing this is genius. considers even that as a stroke of genius. Ultimately Scottie feels the need to be punished because of his abundant good luck and goes to a BDSM club where he meets the
dominatrix (Joanna Donofrio) who is a single mother and insecure who is certainly not cut out for BDSM and she actually helps Scottie in ways that we could have anticipated. I must note that in an age of political correctness, this film does always adhere to this.
There is something very sweet about this film yet it has an edginess that is hard to define. The performances all around are excellent and the direction by Chris Esper is subtle.