Immediate regret; you know the feeling. Whether indulging in greasy fast food or saying something with a little too much sass in the heat of the moment — these mistakes happen. That regret manifests itself into our brain trying to forget whatever transgression we’ve committed. It’s easy to throw away the trash and pretend you didn’t cheat on your diet or apologize to someone for offending them, but the truth is there will always be residual side effects. You’ll feel bloated or the person you u in. offended may proceed with caution in future interactions. So the brain works overtime to conceal unpleasant memories, but it’s nearly impossible to erase the tangible evidence that’s left in their wake.
Mark Slutsky‘s short film Never Happened explores this notion – albeit in a more serious fashion than devouring a large fry – of indulging in reckless desires and the regret one feels after. His 8-minute sci-fi short premiered at Toronto International Film Festival 2015 as part of the festival’s Short Cuts Programme 7 and has gained traction for its punchy humor and steady deliverance encapsulated by an unsuspecting technological twist.
Never Happened centers around Grady and Laura, two co-workers paired together on a business trip for a major presentation. Slutsky intercuts another scene with Grady gleefully recapping the highs of his trip to his pregnant wife Sharon. As the two scenes cut back and forth, Grady and Laura celebrate their successful presentation over some cocktails before turning in for the night. One drink leads to another and before we know it, the two are stumbling into Laura’s room for a night of inebriated passion.
As Grady and Laura lay side-by-side, the two discuss the ramifications of Sharon or Laura’s possible fiancé finding out about their extracurricular activities. They decide it’s best that they both forget about their encounter and chalk it up to a celebratory romp. It’s here when Never Happened gets quite literal and takes its viewers on an unexpected twist. Slutsky’s short shines in the last two minutes as it cuts back to Grady and Sharon readying themselves for bed and she tends to a scratch on a now clueless Grady’s back.
In an interview with MoviesMovesMe, Slutsky touched on the intent of his short by saying, “I think most people, if they have an affair, the most difficult thing would be the fact they knew about it and would be biting them. So I thought some people it might be easier to indulge in themselves and almost absolve themselves of the sins by forgetting about it like it never even happened.” Which brings be back to my original point. We may lend ourselves to our desires, whether that be something as simple as cheating our diet or cheating on something far more important, and our brain’s instinctual response is to shut that memory off and distance ourselves from that particular moment as quickly as possible. But as Never Happened shows, there’s always something that will remind you of the choices you’ve made.