2014 Dark Art Films
Directed by Adam Stephen Kelly
If you’ve been reading my reviews for any length of time, you may remember that I’m not the best watcher of short movies. I appreciate the form has a valid place in movie making but they’re not often my cup of tea. When a director or film company asks me to look at their work, especially if it’s a very short film, I always stick to my guns and only write a review of the film in question if I think it’s a particularly good work. I don’t tend to write negative reviews of these because, if the people involved came to me in the first place, it would be doing them a dis-service to write a bad review. In those cases, I usually tell the person in question that I won’t review their film rather than pan it publicly.
But then, there’s always the odd exception... which you’ll also know if you’re a long term reader of my stuff. There’s a handful of shorts I’ve reviewed here in my time and those ones are on here usually because there’s been something special or particularly stand out with the film in question. Some might be because they have a wealth of ideas but with less technical merit... others may be because they are entertaining for other reasons.
Adam Stephen Kelly’s new short Done In is here because it's both technically brilliant and, also, is quite entertaining in its own right.
The film is one of perception and it would be an injustice to give away too much of the content here... other than to say it is a beautifully shot account of a man writing a suicide note. The film is very fluid and laid back in its pacing, but with a certain rigour showing in the dedication to the capturing of the subtle emotional presence of the lead actor Guy Henry.
After a series of establishing shots of a house and it’s beautiful interior, all lit in a kind of brown, almost sepia, warm kind of lighting style but with nothing too in your face about the colour choice, Guy Henry sits down to write the said letter and delivers a voice over narrative of the contents of that letter. Although the shots are all very clean and the editing first rate, the movie manages to be completely focused on the performance and the sheer beauty of the shot compositions isn’t over-indulged by the director in the sense that it distracts you from the core of the emotional sentiment of the short.
Imran Ahmad’s subtle scoring matches the fluidity and the wistful, almost nostalgic state of mind of the main character as he reflects on the words of a husband’s final letter to the world. A love letter to a dead wife and a testament to the continuation of that love after the death of a powerful presence in ones life.
Now, I knew by a certain point in this narrative that there was going to be just a little more to what was being captured here than this set up and, I think it was just before Ahmad’s score started to turn a little more sinister that I twigged the writer’s intent here... which is pretty good actually, since I usually figure out the ending of a move within the first few minutes. Doesn’t matter though as the film itself is a beautiful reflection on the power of loss and where that loss can sometimes take you. It also, as it happens, raises a few questions about the precise nature of that loss at the film’s denouement but, like all good movies, these questions set to haunt you after the thing is done are as good as anything they could have made frustratingly clear within a physical representation within the film and this kinda ties in with my thoughts on a good movie being able to stand up to several interpretations, depending on the psychological make up of the audience... above and beyond the intentions of the writers, directors, producers and actors etc.
So there you have it. A short review for a short film because, although I’d love to say more about the last minute or two of this one... I really don’t want to spoil it for you and so, all I will say is, if you’re into short films (and maybe even if you’re not), then Done In is definitely one I’d recommend you sink your teeth into, if you get the opportunity to anytime soon.