by Coop Cooper
If you’ve ever been to a Mississippi film festival in the past few years then you’ve probably seen Kenny Cook. The prolific actor has been a go-to artist for their short films for awhile now. Cook has been in many award-winning films playing leads and character actors alike.
Now the actor makes his directorial debut with “Bitter Shoes”, the story of a broken man (played by Cook) who resorts to kidnapping in order to relive the memories of his dead son. It’s a heartbreaking story that features a fine performance by Cook and co-star Julie Sampley as his grade school-aged hostage.
“Bitter Shoes” is an example of why short films are encouraged to stay short and sweet. It gets to the meat of the story very quickly and leaves enough context clues to help the audience figure out what is going on without excessive exposition. The “shoes” in question are the shoes of the dead son which Cook forces his hostage to wear and walk around in as he attempts to relive conversations he once had with his son. This results in a tense situation for the audience because the father’s motivations aren’t clear. Not knowing what his ultimate plans are for this little girl causes a great deal of suspense, especially when she attempts a desperate escape.
Cook does an admirable job adapting Alex Whitmer’s original script and hopefully he will continue on this promising directing path.