Punch Bag

Rated: Not Rated

        We’ve all been there: You’re just trying to relax and sleep after a hard day, when the neighbors start blasting their music. Or you’re trying to get up to speed on the day’s events while watching the news, when that jerk on the motorcycle goes by again, blocking out the sound of the story you’ve been waiting to see. Or you just find out you have some sort of health condition, when the neighbor’s dryer sheets, or cigarette smoke constantly blows directly to you. The exact situations don’t matter; what does matter is that living near other people can be difficult. And what do you do in these situations? Go and confront them, asking them to be quiet, or not to smoke, or to change laundry detergents? Probably not. For most of us the fear of confrontation becomes too much to handle, so we suffer endlessly in silence, hoping and praying that somehow these problems will take care of themselves so we can finally get some sort of peace.
        This sort of conflict irresolution is the premise behind the new film from Daniel Harding and his company 23 ½ Films,
Punch Bag. In the film Naomi finds a leaflet offering help, but not much other information. She goes to the place listed on the card in hopes of finding help with her noisy neighbors, but what she ends up getting is so much more than that.
        Daniel Harding’s films may not all be of the same genre, or the same subject matter, but they all have something in common: they are all exceedingly well written, well shot, and well acted, and
Punch Bag is no different. There is no soundtrack to the film to create tension or any other emotion, leaving whatever feelings happen totally up to the viewer.

        There is also no mention whatsoever of any of the characters’ names. Throughout the entire film we are given enough to feel emotionally involved with the characters, but not once do their names come up. I found this to be both really interesting, and a testament to the skill and strength of Daniel’s writing abilities.  There are countless films in which particular characters’ names are mentioned far too often, in a ploy to make them memorable. All that really accomplishes is annoying me, not to mention that in normal speech saying a person’s name repeatedly is uncommon and weird. Daniel’s films don’t have this problem, and
Punch Bag takes it to the extreme in the opposite direction, which is a good thing.

Punch Bag is a fantastic look into one potential solution to bad neighbors. I’m not sure if it’s a solution that would work in the real world as well, but it certainly works in the film. Its simplicity is to be appreciated, and its quality can’t be ignored. It’s yet another gem of a short film from Daniel Harding, and gets the excitement building for the release of his first feature, The Cult of Nigel, in the near future. If you have ten minutes to spare definitely check this one out!

        Punch Bag
is not rated, was written and directed by Daniel Harding and stars Ingvild Deila and Bryan Samson. More information about the film, Daniel Harding ad 23 ½ Films can be found here:

  • Daniel Harding on IMDB