There's much to like in this dark story of debt and "repayment". There's some wonderful cinematography, proficient camerawork and editing, and effective scoring. The performances, on balance, are good. The narration, often a stumbling block in short films, doesn't distract here. The locations are authentic, and the overall production values are a cut above the normal fare found on this site. I do have some questions/concerns. I question some of your post-production decisions. The use of color/b&w from scene to scene seems random. I'm not a fan of the freeze-framing or series of cross-fades that were employed in certain scenes (although I consider this a minor criticism). The soundtrack, while good, is sometimes jarring as it shifts dramatically in tone from scene to scene.
On the narrative side, my major concern is that the story seems to be spinning it's wheels. The entire "borrowing money" plot feels like a build-up to the main conflict, but that conflict never comes. Instead, we're brought right to the conclusion. In other words, it feels like Act II of a three-act narrative is missing.
On the whole, this is a wonderful first effort (and just a plain wonderful effort), and is very easy to recommend. Thumbs up.
Other Reviews by agaul 104
A review of Quiche Lorraineby agaul on 02/02/2007Quiche Lorraine is a skillfully executed short. The camerawork, editing, lighting, pacing and staging are all quite adept. The acting is more than adequate. The sound composition is mostly effective. The concept and story are conventional, but sufficient. A couple minor quibbles: the music accompanying the scene leading up to the final confrontation was a mite overbearing... read
A review of Zilchby agaul on 01/29/2007Great concept, nicely executed. The dialogue was generally witty, but not forced. The performances were likeable. The animations were well done. The concept wasn't a showcase for directorial skill, and recognizing that, the direction was appropriately unobtrusive. I have one minor quibble, and one small suggestion. In my opinion, the altoid break was pacing speedbump... read
A review of The Ballad of Bernie Bearby agaul on 01/07/2007First of all, I think the idea of transitioning between illustration and live action was a great decision, establishing the link between fantasy and reality in a vivid way. One issue I had was picking up on the tone of the piece. Initially, I found the acting and actions of the protagonists to be too over-the-top. But I soon remembered that this is a child's yarn, and it... read