Rent’s Due packs lots of humour in its crisp four-minute running time. Its adorably absurdist style is reminiscent of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which speaks to director Kaitlin Kemp and writer and star Claire Kane’s background in improv comedy.
Our main character (aptly titled “Desperate” in the credits) experiences the dire condition of the millennial economy after her partner is hit by a car. Her first thought is not “Is she okay?” but rather, “How am I going to be able to pay my rent?” And such is the state of money for young adults today, saddled with stratospheric student loans and low-paying jobs with no health insurance. Her hilarious roommates, (played with sparkling wit by Megan Kimberly Smith and Katie Verde), thrive off the melodramatics of the situation, encouraging our unnamed protagonist to find another lover to cover the other half of the rent. The rest of the film is a series of amusing speed dates.
Director Kailtin Kemp really captures the exciting, youthful energy of the city in the striking on location shots. She clearly has a knack for comedy, nailing the timing of jokes with a swift precision while balancing the genuine pathos of the piece and drawing out the deeper feelings of the characters. Every shot has a very naturalistic and easy flow. One of the shots towards the end, in particular, when the camera hovers above the lead character’s bed and moves up to the ceiling, demonstrates Kemp’s keen eye for artful visuals.
Claire Kane brings a lovable but also grounded quality to the main role; she is very Zoisa Mamet-esque, but with a more expressive aura that keeps you engrossed. Tunu Thom sticks out as the “Widow,” with her sweet, emotional warmth. Blaise Vadcca, Heather Johnson, and Stanley Sievers round out the strong cast.
Culminating in a very amusing button, Rent’s Due leaves you wanting more despite being a short comedy sketch. Everything happens so quickly that the lead seems a bit apathetic for attempting to move on so quickly, but desperate times do call for desperate measures. Rent’s Due couldn’t be more timely, with the pandemic and our dumpster fire economy. It’s also lovely to see a lesbian lead in a women-dominated story. A silly and winsome short with a frantic energy, Rent’s Due makes you look forward to the filmmakers’ future projects.
Rents Due is available to watch on Vimeo now
by Caroline Madden
Caroline is the author of Springsteen as Soundtrack. Her favourite films include Dog Day Afternoon, Baby It’s You, Inside Llewyn Davis, and The Lord of the Rings. She is the Assistant Editor of Video Librarian and does social media for Passion River Films. She has an MA degree in Cinema Studies from SCAD. You can follow her on Twitter @crolinss.