Monday, 26 July 2010

Review: Blackberry Stains

Watched this short film recently, and I must say, what a nice piece of work! Genuinely enjoyed every minute of it. An intense story with an emotional feel, but brought lightly and realistic, that gives this short film its charm and makes it convincing and credible.

In short: two boys are abused by their teacher, the parents do not notice anything. In the end, of the boys kills the teacher by pushing him off a ladder.

The actor who plays the teacher/pedophile does a very impressive job, especially the scene in the car when one of the young boys (the friend of the main character) is so nervous ("sir, sir, sir") and knows what is coming. Truly heartbreaking and you feel a genuine need you wish you could punch that old pervert in the face, so he does an amazing job and manages to convince the viewer he is value for money.

The camera team managed to reach a professional level with some amazing shots. A few scenes in particular: where the boy is washing his face in the white bathroom - at the end of the film - or when the camera slowly approaches the car from the side, very nicely done for a (relatively) small budget film like this.

You can tell someone did spend time thinking about the right music. It suits the different scenes - different feelings and emotions - very well. It is present, but not mostly not dominating and that gives the movie a great feel. In particular, the transition from the last scene to the credits should be remembered, the music and the images seem to become one.

The casting was pretty good. I must admit I had to get used to Matthew's character the first few minutes, but the way he expresses himself and his body language suit the film very well. Although the young boys are clearly not experienced actors, Matthew's friend (the main character's friend) manages to move the viewer. The teacher is a truly impressive actor, it is difficult to deny he portrays a true creep and he is someone you want to keep away from your kids. The interaction between the preys and the hunter feels natural and not scripted. You can perfectly imagine how uncomfortable the boys must have felt. You forget they are on a script, and they manage to make the viewer feel genuinely angry and disgusted when you watch the unhealthy moments they go through. The mother does a decent job as well. It is a pity - but nicely played - she does not really pick up what Matthew says or what he is going through.

The tragic end is very understandable. It kind of seems to answer the desire of the viewer ('pull the ladder under the dirt bag's legs'), without being over the top. And it is a smart end to a short story. No happy ending, no police involvement or a teacher who gets away with it, but the anger built within which eventually finishes off this failed and morally lost teacher.
One of One Eyed Dog's finest productions.