Slick Talk (2023) Short Film Review


plain speaking

Kiki is a rapper. He was trapped between the four walls of culture, tradition and the “old school”. His only escape is through music, which he is convinced can take him to other places. Even her mother, seen only in the dark, is certain that Kiki is beautiful and can succeed if her next meeting with a manager goes well.

But the musician decides to go through something first. A process that seems painful and must be uncomfortable at the very least. Being of Asian-American descent, his features are not typically seen in the rap industry. With the help of a plastic device, he does his best to change the appearance of his eyes. He doesn’t want to be too Asian. In this pivotal scene Slick Talk, its narrative is presented and resolved. A 10-minute short film is enough, the sole purpose of which is to introduce us to a situation that we rarely talk about.

Maybe not important to most of us. But for others, it has become a lifestyle. It feels like treason to give up your appearance for success, but sometimes it’s simply the only way. She spends quite a bit of time preparing for the encounter, but only by changing her true self will she feel ready to face the monster of the world in which she is comfortable. From your eyes to your nails. Her clothes and makeup. Kiki gets a makeover to change her look.

Directors Courtney Loo and David Karp behind a quick look at the music industry from the perspective of Kiki, a musician whose talents may be overseen by something less important. What she looks like is a potential topic of conversation for the most important conversation in her life, and points to every conflict in the film that’s easier to recognize than forget.

The short film mainly consists of three scenes in which Kiki struggles with her identity until the last moment and gets something out of it. It just might not be what you’re looking for. For him, being a good musician depends on what the audience sees beyond his appearance. But in the modern music industry, we know that’s not how things work. We, the audience, know that Kiki is not part of a fairy tale and we just want to see her survive that encounter. What the script ultimately spells out is perhaps an inevitable outcome.

Is it good for Kiki to accept who she really is and profit from it? Certainly not, but we see no other way. She can stay true to herself while embracing her culture and roots, but that’s clearly not what she wants. He’s on his way to becoming an unhappy and uninspired rapper whose most important characteristic is “gangsta Asian.”

You know when short films seem like a great introduction to a potential story? Slick Talk it’s exactly that, and I definitely want to explore Kiki’s adventures (and misadventures) further.

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Federico Furzan

Founder of Screentology. Member of OFCS. RT rated critic
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