Tuesday, June 21, 2016

TRIAL







All right!

Today's a new day, and here we are with another Sci-fi Short Film from me to you, so let's get into it, shall we?

SHALL WE?

Today, we have Trial. It is a short film Written and Directed by The Brothers Lynch, otherwise known to their parents as Keith and David T.. This I know: They are brothers, and they are film-makers. However, beyond that, I don't know much, except that I'm reasonably sure David and Keith are in actuality the separate entities that, when they utter their magic phrase, transform and merge, to become a Mighty Director!

Pretty sure. 85% percent, at least.

Other than that, neither one of them has done anything that really jumps out at me. That being said, though, they do seem to have a passion for genre stuff, and are pretty regularly active--as a separate pair--starting out on music videos, and now branching out into their own projects.

So good for them.

Here's the synopsis for today's film: A pioneering mind transfer procedure offers a quadriplegic soldier the chance of a new life... but at a terrible cost. The corporal finds himself in another part of the science facility with no idea how he got there. These time jumps escalate out of control climaxing with a horrific realization...

Tsk, tsk, tsk... There's always a terrible cost with these things, isn't there?

Seriously though. on a more personal preference note, I hate it when a synopsis refers to a character in broad terms first, and then very quickly after throws in a specific designation, no preamble, no explanation, just a sudden blurt of specific character information thrown in your way, because they couldn't figure out an easy way to convey it. Note: Most of the time, I've found that when I come across this, the specific information isn't very important information, and ultimately does not need to be shared here.

Specifically... I.E. They first say "soldier" in the synopsis, and then in the very next sentence, reference "the corporal". Who's "the corporal"? Now, obviously this is supposed to be the previously mentioned "soldier", but that's just an assumption that's not confirmed by the rest of the synopsis. It could be a second character, you don't know. In fact, there's no definite way to be sure, especially since (SPOILER) the main character is rarely referred to as "the corporal" in the film, if at all. It's a nitpick, sure, and you're probably safe in assuming "the soldier" and "the corporal" are one and the same, but the point is... it's clutter in your synopsis, and people trip on clutter. When you're doing one of these things, you need to keep it short, simple, and broad. The point is to entice, not confuse. To propel your audience onward into your story, not bog them down. You want to make them want more, not make them want to consider whether or not to bother.

Now, I'd like to say this kind of inability to see the forest for the trees--however slight--is not indicative of narrative issues that pop up in the film itself.

I'd like to say that.

Let's watch...


Okay...

For the most part, that was all right. It was certainly well made, especially for this level and type of film-making. It looked good. The effects were nice too, and well-integrated. This was a good job, especially on a technical level. That having been said, it really didn't do much for me. I wasn't bothered, or offended. I didn't roll my eyes, but I wasn't drawn in either. I think what it was, for me at least, was that they put much more narrative stock in the dramatic power of the "twist" than was ever actually warranted, so it all fell flat for me.

The whole film revolves around the twist, obviously, that's the point, but honestly, at least for me, when it came time for the big reveal, it just kind of thuds. I hate to say it, but: Who cares? Is this reveal about the body swap process an issue? Why? Just because? How is it worse or better that the body (SPOILER) isn't a clone? Or was that even an issue? Was the reveal simply that there are (SPOILER) two minds warring for dominance in one body? Was that the point? If that was the point of the reveal, then their whole narrative structure was off, and the story was missing its resolution.

It just wasn't clear.

It also wasn't clear enough what the point of the time jumps were, as in what was supposed to actually be happening in the film, while they were actually happening in the film. And when you couple that with the fact that all of the characters were generally too under-developed for the audience to really forge a connection with... the whole thing just ends up feeling too bombastic.

Less "mystery" in general would have been a good thing for this film.

Personally, I think the events surrounding the reveal, the specifics of the reveal itself, and what exactly the process entailed, would have been a hell of a lot more interesting narrative-wise, than this weak Twilight Zone-like nod we got instead. Or maybe they should have made a bigger deal earlier in the film over where exactly the Scientists got the new bodies from, maybe then the reveal might have had more power. I don't know. Maybe "The Trials" would've been more interesting? Show me several attempts, maybe, rather than just showing a single one, you know, show the various successes and failures? Context is what I'm saying, basically.

The film needed less Mystery, and more Context.

This all sounds very critical, of course. And it is, the film has issues, but I don't want to imply that it was bad or anything. It wasn't. The film is good, it just didn't wow me.

Competent. Good looking. Kind of average.

Jon

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