The Candidate (20:35)
David Karlak; Dust; Films Short; IMDb; Short of the Week; shortfil.ms; Vimeo; YouTube
This 2010 short film was presented by Dust in 2016.
So, Dust is basically an anthology of science fiction short films. I want to say that this film doesn't exactly fit my idea of science fiction, though there's certainly an element of speculative fiction; I think of it rather as paranormal. Also I should mention that the short has drawn comparisons to the 2000 film "American Psycho," which as of yet I haven't seen, but I still kind of understood the reference.
Anyway... the film is told from the perspective of Burton Grunzer, whose inner monologue we hear throughout the opening scene. He's apparently a junior executive at a company (advertising, maybe?), and has a presentation partner named Whitman Hayes, whom he despises. He sees Hayes as a complete bumbler, who only has his position because of nepotism. Meanwhile, Grunzer keeps receiving (and deleting without reading) text messages from someone named Carl Tucker. After the opening scene, he checks in with his secretary, Kat (Meghan Markle, before she was a duchess), who reads him a letter that had been sent to him by Tucker. Then, as Grunzer heads to his office, Tucker himself (Robert Picardo) approaches him in person. He only want 15 minutes... maybe 10... of Grunzer's time, to explain to him what the organization Tucker represents is all about. Reluctantly, Grunzer agrees to hear him out.
Beyond that, I don't really want to reveal any more of the plot, except to say that the ending makes the whole thing worth watching. But the whole film is incredibly well produced and acted... and I believe the story does a brilliant job of manipulating the way viewers think about what's going on, from start to finish, in order to make the ending as effective as it is (whether you see it coming or not).