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Quality Control

The trouble with waiting rooms is that you're so often waiting for something bad. Maybe you're there to see a dentist, to have a serious talk with your child's teacher, or going on a job interview -- which could potentially be good but is definitely going to be stressful. The people in the waiting room at the start of Quality Control have it even worse, though. They're waiting to see if they'll get to survive the day.

Number 36 (Kenny Mahoney) is up first, and right away you know he's in trouble -- he's put into a small dark room with no furnishings and one window that only gives a view of the next room, where his nemesis, Auditor 451 (Charlie Sausa), sits. Apparently, 36 attacked someone and is now 'on trial', though it isn't like any trial you'd recognize.

The Auditor, with the help of his instincts and an extremely advanced lie detector system, must decide if 36 is telling the truth when he says he isn't a danger; that the attack was provoked and he won't do it again. If unconvinced, the Auditor will kill him. You see, 36 is a clone, and in this society, clones are disposable when they do anything wrong. Why not, when you can always grow more who might behave better? The Auditor has the system down cold, whereas 36 is fighting blindly to live. He'll need a miracle, and those are in short supply.

I'll give it four out of five. It's a quiet, tense short film, tightly focused on the battle of wills between the jaded Auditor, a career bureaucrat who cuts every corner he can, and the panicky, desperate 36. You can't help but cheer 36 on, or at least cheer for the Auditor to lose, since he's both cruel to 36 and supremely confident in his own superiority. It's an unsettling look at a possible future that wouldn't be easy to deal with, and it makes for excellent cinema.

Auditor 451 and 36. You never know when someone's watching you.


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