Peter's Price (2005)

ppAnd there’s that adage that “The grass is always greener on the other side”, and when you break down that adage in bits and pieces, it’s not a one-liner about envy, it’s basically telling you, misery though we perceive it to be bliss, is still misery. And such is examined in the intelligent and engrossing twenty minute short from director Mitchell L. Cohen who seems to have channeled Richard Linklater down to his essence of simplicity.

Cohen takes the limited time and space and uses it to his advantage to compose a thought provoking allegory about life, and how we perceive it. Can we really break free from our past lives? Can old habits really die? And what would we do to break free from our misery in the end? All of which is answered in Cohen’s film. To create a film that is reliant only on dialogue and keep the audiences attention, it has to require a certain degree of talent, and Cohen has it, and he flaunts it and puts it on display, and I ended up really liking this in the end. Every bit and piece of “Peter’s Price” is on-key, especially regarding the performances from our two leads which really does hold up the ends of the story.

Christopher Mur gives a very sublime performance becoming very convincing as the workaday yuppie whose life basically changes when he’s robbed in the parking lot of his bank and discovers the man robbing him is his childhood friend. Both performances from Mur, and from the antithesis role from McCaffrey really do lend quality to this film as the two present the opposite sides of the coin. “Peter’s Price” invariably examines the grass being greener. To McCaffrey’s character, Peter is pretty much a success, and a tool whose life is dictated by his wallet, but to Peter, we’re never sure of what he thinks of his friend whose life is reflected upon him. And you wonder which life is better, the have or the have not?

The life of poverty but with autonomy and without obligation, or the life of success with total monotony and regrets? “Peter’s Price” examines such questions and never really picks a side on its story. “Peter’s Price” ends as a beautiful allegory on life and how we perceive it. Who is miserable one, the one stuck in this life, or the one without a future? The ending will undoubtedly leave you stunned, and Cohen pulls it off with precision. “Peter’s Price” is a simple, but well thought out and engrossing short film with great acting, engrossing dialogue, and symbolism that really do make this a worthwhile experience all capped off by a surprise ending that really do sum up what we’ve seen with deep subtext.