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Written by: Barak Shpiez |   Directed by: Barak Shpiez  |  Genre: Thriller / Drama

Let’s be real here for a moment; even the mere mention of “Vax,” vaccine, or vaccination pretty much gets the hairs standing up on the back of everyone’s neck these days. With the undeniable degree of misinformation pumped out into this world, the skepticism surrounding vaccines, whether founded or unfounded, has largely become justified for one reason or another. That’s the effect of the confusion and how it causes chaos in society. It’s a virus of its own kind and utterly impossible to cure, it seems. Anyhow, calm down; this short film from writer/director Barak Shpiez isn’t about the COVID era, “Vax” smartly centers its story around Malaria instead. Ultimately, to tell this tale, Shpiez could have chosen just about any disease or epidemic for which there is currently no known cure, and it would have been equally effective because the actual problem runs much deeper than surface level. I remember a long time ago when AIDS became a worldwide concern…I can’t remember the exact quote or even who said it – it might have been someone like Frank Zappa – but it was something along the lines of ‘the moment we find a cure for AIDS, you’ll know exactly who started it.‘ While that seems like an incredibly pessimistic attitude in some ways, you also can’t help but acknowledge the potential truths in a statement like that either, considering the opioid epidemic and big pharma’s many lies to the public. There are things like the weaponization of illnesses to consider for one, and then profit margins as well. For the hardest of the hardcore skeptics and the fattest of cats in the business of medical science, it is considered a fact that there is no money to be made in curing anything – but there sure is in treatments.I thought this film was freakin’ great, to be honest with ya. Sure, it’s short, and you’d probably want to see more of a story like this expanded further, but “Vax” hits all its major points and gets the main issues across extremely clearly in terms of the crooked path & obstacles that exist in between the human race and a cure to all that ails it. Again, whether it’s Malaria or anything else that afflicts us, “Vax” shows us the perils of intervention in medical science, the horrific reasons usually found behind it in the financial aspects of decision-making, and also the importance of secrecy in a chain of command, versus the truth. “Vax” has a hero & it has a villain…and I suspect that if you cannot tell which is which, that might say a whole lot more about you than it does about the way this short film’s story is written & presented to us. What I loved about “Vax” is that you certainly do not have to be a conspiracy theorist in order to find your way into this film. It’s thought-provoking in all the right ways and has you considering very real-world scenarios that are not only more than possible but have already been proven to be true in other examples throughout our history – with medicine so far. The acting of its two main characters from Cade Carradine and Ricco Ross, was spot-on. The shots of the interior medical lab were excellent and visually convincing. The conversations between the employers and employees were fantastic too, and genuinely essential to this film because overall, you could really argue that “Vax” is much more about big business than it is about medical science. I also really liked how much we don’t see or hear too. Like, we get a few one-sided conversations along the way, but what makes those scenes as successful as they are is how Shpiez KNOWS we’re going to be perfectly able to fill in those blanks with all the details we really need. So in that regard, there’s nothing whatsoever left out at all, and that’s not an easy trick to pull off.

There is precious little I’d think of changing here if anything at all. I suppose the dialogue can be slightly hampered by the facemasks, which could potentially be resolved by voiceovers & whatnot, but the way that Shpiez has left it more intact felt more real to me…so truthfully, I like that the way that it is, even though it could be a bit muffled at points and the words are so crucial. More to that point, I felt like the addition of the music might be more invasive in that regard – it probably could have come down a notch or two in volume to let the words be heard more clearly. Minor observations at best, and really, I found that everything in “Vax” came through enough to get the point at all times. In the end, we ultimately know where a story like this is going and what it’s trying to say, because we’ve all been instilled with the kind of distrust in our institutions & in the system we’ve set up – to feel a story like this within our bones. I highly recommend watching “Vax” – it’s about eleven & a half-minutes long and deserves a solid four stars out of five for its thorough attention to detail, its continually engaging mystery & entertainment value, and making us really consider the strength of the integrity in our own species, for better or worse.

Vax Trailer from Barak Shpiez on Vimeo.

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