Short Film Review: Conscientia (2017)

This is something that doesn’t happen often, me reviewing a short film. And before we begin, I will be 100% transparent with this. I was asked by one of the people who made this short to review it early. The guy who asked me is someone I consider a friend, and I wanted to make that clear because any potentially good things I might have to say about this are not because of my previous affiliation with these guys. I will judge this on it’s own merits. So let’s find out if it’s any good.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Conscientia”.

Samuel (Jakob Lewis Barnes) is struggling with his inability to sleep, which causes him to slowly lose his mind and perception of reality. This soon comes to a head during one fateful night. So what we have here is a weird yet interesting horror plot that is told in a somewhat non-linear style. You can still easily pick up on what order things are in, but it’s still not a straight line of events. And I have to say that I quite enjoyed the plot here. It is simple enough to follow along easily, but it still has some slightly more complex ideas that will make you think. The short format makes it feel a little bit thin and not fully developed, but they still do a pretty good job to condense the idea into a shorter format.

Here we have two characters, one that we get to know a little bit, and one that is just kind of there. I get that you can’t give them super big arcs when you keep it this short, but I didn’t find myself fully invested in the two here. Jakob Lewis Barnes plays Samuel, our protagonist/insomniac. His psychological struggle is interesting to watch, but I’d like to see it developed a bit more. But at least Barnes gave a really good performance here. Then we have Hannah Thomas as Lauren, a woman that Samuel seems to be dating. And she’s the one that I explained as “just there”. With Samuel you get some idea of what type of character he is, but with Lauren it’s just “Hello, I am character” and not much else. Thomas gives a good performance, even though her character doesn’t do much. So overall, good performances, okay-ish characters.

The score was composed by Martin Gratton, and I think he did a good job. The score was chilling and eerie, and it really helped sell the uneasy feel that the director clearly wanted to go for. So yeah, good score for the short.

This short was directed by Nick Deal and I think he did a good job working with his limitations. The short feels somewhat claustrophobic since it’s set mostly inside one small apartment, and Deal’s direction (combined with Gratton’s aforementioned score) helps the short feel tense, eerie, and creepy, elevating it beyond it’s small budget. The talent and ambition here is great enough to be able to make something that exceeds their limitations, and I respect that quite a bit.

While not perfect, “Conscientia” is still a pretty damn good short. It has a good plot, okay-ish characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. My flaws with it is that some aspects feel slightly underdeveloped (but it’s not a dealbreaker). Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Conscientia” is a 9,11/10. While flawed, I highly recommend watching it (when it gets released).

My review of “Conscientia” is now completed.

Firstly: Nick, Jakob, Jumpcut… thank you for giving me this opportunity, I feel truly honored.
Secondly: “Conscientia” will be released on Monday, only on youtube.

“Harlequin” is finally out!

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen… and earthworms. A while back I (and a few more people) got to see the short film “Harlequin” before it was released to the public. Kind of like an early screening, but instead of a big Hollywood movie it was for a small short film. I also reviewed said short film to sort of get some early buzz around it so people would get more excited about it. Well, a few days ago the short was finally released to the public. And to help it’s writer/director (Jakob Lewis Barnes) out a bit I decided to make this post about it. Not as a review, just as a reminder of sorts that it is out and that you should all go check it out and give it some love. To recap, it stars Kenton Hall as a clown named Charles and he is going a little insane. I will not say more than that because you should just go check it out and experience it for yourselves. I really enjoyed it, and I hope you guys do too.

Have a good one and enjoy!

Short Film Review: Harlequin (2016)

cr7cvemwcaac6jh

Some if not most of you might be asking right now “What the hell is this, Markus? What’s goin’ on?”. Relax, I’m going to explain. I was one of not many people to receive the honor of getting to see this little short film before it’s released to the rest of the public. So that’s pretty big for me, a small town dude who just happens to be running a blog where movies occasionally get reviewed. Just don’t expect this to become a regular thing… reviews of short films, I mean. Call this a special occasion.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harlequin”.

Charles (Kenton Hall) is a clown. But he isn’t your normal “nice guy who makes kids happy” clown. He has some mental issues going on. And these issues seem to manifest themelves around the time of a performance he is setting up. And that’s about all I can say. It’s a bit difficult to tackle the plot of a short since it is just that… short. So there’s not much that can truly be said about it. I’ll give it this: It intrigued me a lot. There’s definitely some really interesting stuff going on here. I could definitely see this as a full length feature. But seeing as it is as surreal as it is, on such a short runtime, I can’t really say much about it plotwise. I was intrigued and I was invested in it which is a testament to the talent of the writer/director, but I can’t really talk about it as in depth as most regular movies.

There aren’t many actors in the movie. There are a total of four, but only one should really be focused on: Kenton Hall. This is because he’s the only one that gets enough space to the point that I can look at his performance. And to give credit where credit is due… he’s really good in this. Not Oscar worthy or something like that… but he’s really good in this independent short film about a crazy clown man. He’s really good, and the supporting actors do fine in their very minor roles.

The music in this short film help set a pretty eerie atmosphere in a way that actually kind of symbolizes the mess that is Charles’ mind. Sure, the music is not as thought-provoking and symbolic as in other movies, but I honestly don’t think that it’s the point. The music here is meant to help show that nothing is as it seems while also setting a pretty eerie mood. And that is a plus for this little thing.

“Harlequin” was written and directed by Jakob Lewis Barnes, a man who’s very passionate about film and the art of filmmaking. Me and Jakob have communicated a lot on twitter and I think that he’s a really cool dude. But I’m not gonna let my positive experiences with Jakob cloud my judgment of his directing and writing. And it’s really well directed and well written. The writing presents the interesting stuff with Charles and his mental health, and it kept me intrigued. And the directing was really good as well. I mean, for someone who’s on such a small budget and with no major stuff under his belt he did a pretty great job. You can tell from the shots we get that something is a bit odd here, kind of like with the music choices. And that of course helps the short a lot and makes it really interesting. Again, I am basing this on the small budget that this pretty clearly was on. And while not really related to the directing itself, there’s a fun little clown-related easter egg in this that I thought was kind of fun.

I can’t really judge “Harlequin” like I do most normal, full length features. To tell you the truth, I had to think carefully how I would judge this thing. Then after some thinking I figured it out… I think. The pretty minor plot presented is intriguing, the performance from Kenton Hall is really good, the music choices are good, and the directing is pretty good. I can’t really give it any of my normal ratings since it’s such a different thing for me to review, so all I can really do is say whether I recommend it or not. *Drumroll*. Yeah, I recommend it. If you want to see something kinda weird but still really interesting, I recommend that you watch it. Although you’ll have to wait until it is released for the public in late October or something (Not entirely sure to be honest). If you want to keep up with it, follow the JumpCut Uk Productions twitter account. Keep in mind that I do recommend it.

My review of “Harlequin” is now completed.

Jakob, if you’re reading this… it was an honor to be one who got to see it early! Thank you.
gatsby