In Little Favour we meet Wallace (Benedict Cumberbatch), a special ops-type guy who is approached by an old colleague named James (Colin Salmon) in order to make good on a lingering debt. James is currently at the wrong end of a bad deal, and needs help to protect his most precious asset. However, some favors ask more of us than others – as Wallace quickly learns when he is plunged headfirst into the midst of the threat James is up against.
Written and directed by Patrick Viktor Monroe, Little Favour is a film that hits the all the right marks of a great short. At approximately twenty minutes long, it tells a dark and thrilling espionage tale with (albeit mostly implied) depth, good character and narrative development, themes, symbolism and some slick action and surprising twists, to boot. What’s not to like?
Monroe’s script, as stated above, strikes perfect chords of resonance, logic, and organic emotion, creating a situation that is grounded and wholly believable within the super-spy world the film creates; the dialogue, while sparse, is smart and well-balanced in its heightened reality gravitas. Monroe’s direction is sleek, the shots well conceived and framed – while cinematographer James Friend (Truth or Die) creates a vividly dark and gritty tone that gives the film an appropriately rough (but beautiful) edge.
Conceptually, the scenes are staged in interesting settings (the Carbonite kid soldier certainly sticks in mind), and there are some pretty strong examples of unique directorial style in the action sequences. Monroe is not just a director with fun ideas – he’s a director with the talent and vision to realize them.
Cumberbatch continues his rapid leading man takeover by anchoring the character of Wallace with more depth and dimensionality than was probably ever required of him. As Wallace goes through the paces of this intense and crazy situation, his growth and development – while rapid – are more organic and well-earned than most big-budget action films we see. Arrow star Colin Salmon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows star Nick Moran add to the cause by playing fun and/or intriguing characters within this cloak-and-dagger world.
In the end, Little Favour is a film definitely worth it if you’re a fan of espionage action, Cumberbatch, slick stylistic indie shorts – or all three. And if short films are indeed the new audition tapes for upcoming talent, than Patrick Viktor Monroe has definitely earned his shot at the big time.