A scorned heart screws with the mind. This is realized in the first few frames of Rebecca Coley’s Pretty Bitch: clips woven as scissors snip photos of womanly features. The edit is fast and jarring but also somewhat rhythmic; and, almost like a melody, eases into the uneasy setting of a drama class in a women’s prison. Only when a woman asks if she could make tea does the film hush to a calm.

The short is a tale of sweet, sweet revenge, and is told by quite a salty woman. Whether she should or shouldn’t be is beyond this spotlight, but I will say that you stay with her through and through. This is due in part of Natasha Sparkes’ performance and Karla Williams’ screenplay. The decision to make the short film something of a confessional of Sparkes’ character is effective, breathing it great nuance and thought. “All the prisons and she has to come to mine,” she says, talking about a woman (Tamara Camacho) whom her ex-boyfriend beds, sometimes in front of her. “God made that happen.” By the time Sparkes’ character takes her revenge, we’re somehow sold in it, the whole derangement of it. And by the time she succeeds we share with her a feeling of momentary triumph and a destabilizing sense of moral shakenness.

Gender politics aside, Pretty Bitch is a prime revenger story. Watch it below and let me know what you think (@armanddc)!

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