Two complete strangers share a moment proving that sometimes we all need someone to talk to
Craig Robinson displays his acting flexibility as he retires the monotonous manner and tone that we know as Darryl's from "The Office" to play Memphis, an inmate seeking the comforts of friendship in Colin Mitchell's short film, "Memphis Calling." An unlikely and seemingly random phone call from Memphis (Robinson), locked in a high security prison in Texas, to Donna, a straightforward business woman from Los Angeles, places us right into the action. After Memphis finally persuades Donna not to hang up on him, the call reveals the depths in both lives, divulging secrets they weren't able to share with others. Salli Soffioti executes a believable portrayal of Donna, who converses with Memphis in the confinement of her small, crowded sedan driving along the busy 405 freeway.
That initial jump that "Memphis Calling" makes into its plot is almost too fast, however, once in, you're hooked after given a small taste of the conversation. Robinson engages us with quick humor, timing, and an obvious wit that demands your attention. He leads you by a leash through the rest of the film. As he puts it, "I'm just adding things up here," and we take that journey with him.
"Memphis Calling" leaves you yearning for more, and keeps you entertained throughout. The fantastic acting done by Robinson doesn't diminish the way Soffiati plays Donna as an ordinary woman. Instead of letting a low budget be problematic, Mitchell instead uses his limited sets transport you into the everyday reality of the lives of this unlikely pair. The true-to-life look the film was very well captured by the camera work of Nick Lentz and is consistent with editor Tamara McDonough's simplistic editing.
The best word to describe "Memphis Calling" is winning. Our hats go off to Robinson, who makes us realize that once and a while we all need someone to talk to, and someone to listen.
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