Friday, February 12, 2016

Strawberries





Strawberries is described by director Rowan Spiers-Floyd as a "short scene study" which means I can probably safely assume that it's definitely not an actual short film, at least not in the sense of having a complete narrative. I can assume this because he goes on to say: "the film was designed not as a complete narrative, but rather as a glimpse into a larger story and world. With minimal dialogue, the short uses rich textures, cinematography and pacing to help convey the story." I don't want to bag on the guy, but... I really think an author/creator should shy away from using descriptive words like "rich" when describing their own projects, because it comes off as either presumptuous or tone-deaf, but maybe that's just me. Anyway, Mr. Spiers-Floyd continues, saying: "My goal was to create a sense of unease. Rather than telling a straightforward narrative, my focus was on bringing a sense of depth and truth to the alternate reality where the story unfolds, leaving the audience to speculate about the nature of this world, what has brought our characters into this moment, and how this scene fits into a large tale.” Okay. Well, that's not exactly instilling a lot of hope in me, but I guess we shall see if those goals were accomplished.

Here's the synopsis: A young woman with unique abilities and her enigmatic care taker await a long expected call. However his agenda may divided them forever.

Okay then...



Hmmm...

You know, often times when I run into an Indie Sci-fi Project--something along the lines of an alien invasion, or a sprawling super-powered conspiracy, or perhaps an adventure on an alien world--things that contain the types of ideas that require serious money and resources to properly execute, I'll say: "They should have gone small. Indie film makers that want to make wild and crazy genre stuff need to be realistic about their limitations, but more than anything, they need to ensure they are able to write and direct a scene that makes two people sitting in a room interesting, before they can hope to do the same with a sprawling space battle."

Strawberries definitely starts out in the right spot, it cuts away all of the fat it can't handle, and focuses on just two people in a room.

Unfortunately, it's just not able to make it interesting.

It's easy enough to figure out what's going on this film and fill in the narrative blanks, but even if it's just a "scene study", it's still too loose with the details, and the lack of context kills any "sense of unease" that might have been created. As a result, any "truth" about this world is basically non-existent. It's all too surface. It's not badly done or anything, it looks fine, it just doesn't pop. Plus, I think the "child-like innocence" take on the super-powered psychic girl is so boring and cliched now, and it takes a rare actress--practically non-existent at this level--to not play that type of character so obnoxiously broad, let alone in an interesting way. 

Maybe next time,
Jon

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