Review: Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll (2018 Short)

March 20, 2020

Image Copyright: Parousian Pictures

This is going to be an unorthodox review, and I say that with joy — generally speaking I wouldn’t dedicate the first two paragraphs to discussing what the creator of a film means to me personally, but in this moment it seems important. Angel Connell is a filmmaker focused on short films — and when I say filmmaker I mean he writes, directs, produces, and acts in his films. That level of passion commands respect, and speaking honestly Connell was my first big break, reaching out to me in 2011 to review his short film Beneath the Veneer of a Murder when my blog at the time — Picture This! Reviews — had maybe 100 views. The success and legitimacy I felt when I received that DVD screener in the mail is unforgettable. And it led to a wild ride for about a year.

With the exception of a random movie review here or there, I’ve been out of the movie reviews game for around eight years. One of the reasons I stopped reviewing films initially was because Connell had sent me work from a friend of his to review, I accepted it and just couldn’t produce the words for it. I was ashamed of myself, I was young and didn’t realize that letting people down wasn’t the end of the world, but I didn’t even apologize, I just went dark. I say all of that because second chances don’t happen all that often, and this man is extending an olive branch to me during the COVID-19 outbreak after going years without communication. If I mean what I say in my respect and appreciation for Angel Connell, there’s no way I’m not publishing this review. So without further ado, here’s my thoughts on Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll, a short political comedy created by and starring Connell himself.

As the story goes, an indie filmmaker crowdfunding his next movie has a fundraising perk that a lot of people are very interested in stealing by any means necessary: A Donald Trump fetish doll with scary sharp teeth! It’s a simple and silly yet complete story, and I think if I add even one more word about the story itself I’d be giving too much away. We’ve gotta have standards for spoilers on this site!

Angel Connell and his co-star. Photo Credit: Chris Esper

Short films are incredibly tricky to make because you have a very limited amount of time to tell a story, and you have to be able to do a lot with a little. For example, during the intro of Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll, Connell narrates as his character reacts to his own thoughts. In other words, the detailed facial expressions he is able to make to set the film up as a comedy for everyone (as opposed to a partisan few) couldn’t happen if his character was physically talking. It’s an effective way of communicating multiple concepts at one time, which is especially important for short films. These are the sorts of decisions short filmmakers have to make in order to maximize time, and I don’t think there is any time wasted here.

Politically-themed films can be risky to one’s brand, and I’ll say politically Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll is not my thing, but it doesn’t have to be to be in order to be funny. I’m a self-identified socialist, yet I found myself laughing or chuckling most of the way through because Connell put in the work that made it easy to laugh. We’re allowed to have differences of opinion, but we’re also allowed to laugh with each other, especially during bleaker times when it’s easy to judge and blame people. And frankly the political points that Connell does make with this film do deserve discussion, though it’s important to note it is a comedy first.

If you get the chance to support Angel Connell on his journey, spend nine minutes laughing at something you may or may not agree with, just because it’s funny. That’s what we need right now, and that’s what Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll offers. The film is currently making its way through the film festival circuit, and I sincerely wish it the best.

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