Cambridge Shorts

Tue 17th May 2016

reviews

Cameron Wallis

at 08:14 on 18th May 2016

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To summarise Cambridge Shorts into one single rating seems hardly to do it credit considering the discrepancies between the five different student films that are shown. Whilst none of the movies are perfect, there are highly enjoyable elements in all of them, and overall the evening is good fun, compered by the very charismatic Joe Shalom.

Outsiders, first of the Cambridge shorts, is well-directed by Patrick Brooks and writer Nathan Miller – the shots, camera angles and effects are generally tidy but creative. As Shalom was quick to point out, the music is also impressive being entirely composed by Miller. However, one problem this movie faces, as several do in the evening, is dark lighting – though with what was presumably a very low budget they do a great job. The acting is particularly strong from lead actress Rebecca Thomas, playing the slightly psychopathic camp leader Gabby, and commendable from the rest of the cast.

Owl #307 is sad and disturbing, and has one of my favourite plotlines in this selection of short movies. The acting and voice acting from Izzy Kent and Amy Malone is excellent. However, this short particularly suffered from terrible lighting – it is set in a bleak and unpleasantly dim hotel room. Shot angles in Owl #307 are also a bit lack lustre. Finally, the audio levels are sometimes not right, for example at the moment when it cuts to other characters in the same hotel it is hard to make out their voices through the soundtrack. Saying this, the writing is interesting and quite inspired from Johnny King, who just might have benefited from a second directorial opinion.

Prelude by Bekzhan Sarsenbay is the strangest short of the evening and does not work quite as well as the others. Although the premise is interesting, the plot is difficult to follow and not brought to life that well by the actors. At several points the camera shots are bizarre and do not seem all that well thought through and overall it is hard to ascertain the movie’s directorial vision.

Clive Benderman by Tom O’Mara has some of the best lighting of the movies and is excellently directed. Though the plot is not particularly interesting, Clive himself is an engaging character, and brought to life by Paul Richards’ hilariously twitchy facial expressions. The movie is put together well though could have done without Clive falling over twice – once would have been sufficient to emphasise his clumsiness.

Final movie of the evening, Tachyon, is the highlight, eliciting real fear in the audience. The directing is excellent, cast strong, music tasteful, set elaborate, but best of all, it has a truly gripping plotline. Tachyon seems to have a much larger budget than the other movies on this evening, and this shows in the final product: which just feels a great deal more polished.

Overall the films shown in Cambridge Shorts are novel and brimming with fresh talent; the main let down is a lack of accumulated experience: which is sure to come with time over the next few years.

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