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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Uncompromising but beautiful

Author: Helen Chavez from Aberdeenshire, Scotland
4 September 2005

Powerful imagery, rich performances, gorgeous camera-work and lighting, cracking dialogue … sounds like a bit Hollywood blockbuster, doesn't it? Well, 'A Series of Small Things' has absolutely nothing to do with mainstream Hollywood kitch and everything to do with intimate, well-crafted independent film-making at its most heart-felt. Now, you wouldn't think a short film of around 23 minutes would have those attributes … but 'A Series of Small Things' has them all.

Actor/Director Phil Donlon's project has a message that is both heart-wrenching and uncomfortable to watch – and it is intended to be so. The film is at once both brutal and beautiful … violence and calm battle it out in an uncompromising vision that instead of leading the viewer into chaos, leads to understanding, and, ultimately, redemption and peace. The final shot, incidentally, is arrestingly beautiful.

Larry Wilson's spartan but right-on-the-nail dialogue complements excellent performances from an inspired cast … Donlon's nightmare-ridden artist is balanced perfectly by the understanding and heart of Jenn Pae's bereaved sister of a missing brother. Doug Jones' mysterious yet angelic Homeless Man, his shabby and hungry-looking exterior hiding an all-knowing, humorous and multi-faceted persona, is a joy … the glue that binds the 'small things' together to bring about the dénouement. This is just lovely stuff.

If I have one niggle, it's a small one, and is really intended as a comment rather than a concern. I wanted more – MUCH more. There is a lot of storyline that I wanted to explore, to seek, and if the film had been extended to 30 minutes or longer, it would have been even more fulfilling. There was so much left unsaid, and it is a tribute to the film makers that they packed in such a lot in such a short time. And, it has to be said, that if a film leaves the viewer wanting more then it has done its job.

'A Series of Small Things' is a rare thing in film-making … it is a film with soul.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

afterschool special thinking its bigger than it is

Author: janinehco from United States
18 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A friend of mine who is an aspiring actress picked up a copy of this film after seeing it at the Damah film festival. She knew of my interest in directing and writing my own shorts and thought I should give it a viewing. I did. Yikes. Our next meeting for wine and cheese was very interesting.

The acting is heavy handed and Kristy and Rochelle, who were watching it with me, were lost after the first half. We were all taken aback by the behind-the-scenes reel on the disk. Talk about comedy relief. The director and producer Steven Ordower act and talk as if they have done so much. Doing a general look around google and even IMDb shows to the contrary. The most underhanded of it all was when my friend Kristy pointed out how they attacked a member of their own crew and put her face on screen while being critical of her. Poor Lisa, if you are out there you need to do something girl. Most disappointing of all was that one of the recent links we found for the director was an interview in a.....get this....Christian web magazine. I guess that is what religion teaches you to do?

Special overacting scenes/things to pay attention to: -Main actor (and also director) turning on the pier to look back at his brother "ghostboy." Exudes "I think I'm so cool." -Korean girl telling her life story in a cafe to someone she barely knows as the camera slowly creeps in on them. Then creepy actor guy reaches for her hand. That was "real". -Picture of korean boy wrapped in plastic is clearly not the same boy pictured in the cafe photo. Kristy, who is Korean herself, was the most appalled by the filmmakers decision to think that we would just assume all korean people look alike and no one would notice. Real sensitive.

Plenty of other great shorts and great filmmakers out there that deserve your time. Its a flick that thinks its important wrapped up in an afterschool special with an...."ohhhhhhhh, so you really are supposed to mean something but you don't" ending. I would say decent first try for a filmmaker but then I saw that it's his second. Sophomore slump? This movie will make anyone want to take up film-making.


I have a pile of other shorts to get to and will post my comments as I watch.

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