What if your favorite film noir flick were infused with a heavy dose of modern street-smart real talk and absurdist psychedelic animations? Now you don’t have to wonder, thanks to a refreshing new short from director Todd Selby and writer Jason Kreher.
“Redmond Hand, Private Dick,” which premiered late last week on Vogue.com, stars Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, best known for her role on HBO’s The Wire. In the 11-minute clip, she goes goes on a hunt for a missing cactus—lured by the promise of sex with its distraught owner. A bizarre sequence follows, as Pearson—aka, Red—takes off and enjoys all kinds of misadventures.
There is a trap rap bit in the back of Red’s car. There are raccoons popping out of trash cans. There is a confidential drag queen informant and an ominous baby. Suffice it to say, the story doesn’t end the way you think it will.
It’s a fun little trip, willfully random but entertaining nonetheless, partially because of the rich, playful visuals, partially because of the baffling sequences and the amusing dialog, and partially because of Pearson’s riveting performance. Selby, aka The Selby, is a hyphenate artist best known as a documentarian of creative lifestyles and a hobbyist watercolor doodler. (This is his first film.) Kreher is a creative director at Wieden + Kennedy Portland, with work for Old Spice and KFC under his belt, not to mention older side projects like Schadenfreezers, a series of dark popsicle jokes.
Broadly speaking, the hardboiled live-action-cartoon blend can’t but evoke shades of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, if it were mixed with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, then thrown in a blender with Aqua Teen Hunger Force and who knows what else. There’s no shortage of snicker-worthy pop marketing references—Pottery Barn sheets, Chili’s gift cards—but the whole thing turns on Pearson’s unique swagger and her delivery of Kreher’s unexpected gems.
“Now, I know when a trap is being set,” Pearson says, as she opens a trick bookcase at a fluorescent party in L.A.’s Silver Lake neighborhood. “But here’s the thing,” she adds. “Fuck you, trap.”
Or there’s her kicker—possibly the best deus ex machina ever. “This movie is dumb as hell,” she declares, from beyond the grave. To say it breaks the fourth wall would suggest that boundary was ever really honored in the first place. To say its a cop-out would suggest the clip ever promised something different—than to be dumb as hell, that is.