Below the Belt

Director: Robert M. Young
Screenwriters: Richard Dresser

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


Through a fantastic blend of live action and animation, veteran filmmaker Robert Young surrounds live actors inside an animated world in Below the Belt. In this self-proclaimed "postindustrial, preapocalyptic, existential comedy," Young aims a cleverly crafted cautionary tale at the top ranks of today's white-male-dominated society.

Dobbitt is called away from his loving wife for duty at "the Corporation," a toxic factory that sweatily operates around the clock producing its mysterious units. Always willing to please, he arrives at his new quarters and meets his bunkmate, Hanrahan, a sharp and bitter man who incisively questions Dobbitt's motives. The two report to Merkin, the petty and paranoid, back-stabbing plant manager, who ruthlessly pits his employees against one other. These type-B males swim in a comical stew of their own toxic juices as they jockey for power within the company.

Based on Richard Dresser's play, Below the Belt is a kind of contemporary version of Dante's The Divine Comedy with Xander Berkeley, Tom Bower, and Robert Knott superbly inhabiting characters who act in ways that would surely land them in Purgatory. Chris Healer leads a team of animators who do a fantastic job creating an atmospheric Limbo where the fires of Hell are never far away.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

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