THE SEVEN SHORT FILMS in this year's best of Sundance program are a motley bunch, with decided highlights. The funniest is from Lake Bell, who wrote and directed Worst Enemy, about an awkward woman who traps herself in a mail-order slimming garment. The most visually striking is the stop-motion The Eagleman Stag, told in a palette of nearly entirely white. Its story, though, is fragmented and uncooked.
I also really liked the technical virtuosity of Incident by a Bank, which recreates a Swedish bank robbery in one long, wide shot. And We're Leaving, about a mulleted man finding a home for his pet alligator after his trailer park kicks him out, feels utterly authentic.
The most effective, and longest, is Ariel Kleiman's Deeper Than Yesterday. Set aboard a Soviet submarine—it isn't said when or why they're there—it's appropriately claustrophobic and anxiety inducing. The men all live on top of one another; fights break out with regularity. When they find the body of a beautiful woman floating mysteriously in the water, they bring her aboard. Then things really get ugly. It's tough to watch, but it's by far the most emotional of a batch that sometimes lacks impact.