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The Unexpected Promotion

Sometimes, it is agonizingly difficult to choose between two alternatives which both entail significant drawbacks and risks. Matt finds himself in such a situation after he feels surveilled by police and thus decides to stop supplying illegal steroids through the local gym. This means that his only source of income is terminated, but he is extremely determined to adhere to his plan, so much that he says no to an offer of increased revenue while under gunpoint by the mob boss. However, unexpected circumstances might get him to reconsider his choices.


‘The Unexpected Promotion’ tells a story that is sufficiently layered and complex for its length. It explores morality and risk aversion, two fundamental traits which guide people in establishing their worldviews, wants and needs. The business-like dialogues that resort to little or no personal factors are well built and serve to showcase the nature and hierarchy of considerations in such situations. The film by Styrbjörn Dannelöv Karlin is very dynamic in nature, and despite the predictable chain of events that is also signaled as a spoiler by the title, the chosen structure does not allow for boredom to sink in, instead, it's fueling a sense of adrenaline that flows right to the penultimate scene.


However, despite some good beginnings, we found that a number of key decisions ultimately detracted from the film’s quality. The main one is related to the choice of spoken language. This is a Swedish production, the plot unfolds in Sweden (clear from the signs and the cars among other elements, and most of the actors are Swedish. However, the spoken language is English, which makes matters significantly unnatural from a context point of view, and also affects the performance of the actors. While their English is very good and easy to understand, their spoken performance is simply not convincing, which makes certain dramatic interactions – such as the Janko and Matt confrontation – even slightly comical, which we doubt was the original aim. Sticking to Swedish would have been a much better idea. Other than that, and the already mentioned degree of predictability, ‘The Unexpected Promotion’ doesn’t shine in terms of originality, doesn’t do anything unexpected and doesn’t make much of its simple ‘man in a hole’ story arc – a fall, followed by a rise. It even misses quite a few opportunities to inject humor into the mix, instead, it's taking itself too seriously most of the time.


Similarly, it insists too much on explanatory dialogue and outcomes rather than a more in-depth character study and a psychologically complex decision-making structure. Despite all these drawbacks, Styrbjörn Dannelöv Karlin’s short film remains an entertaining and engaging production that should definitely please fans of the genre.

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