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When is enough ... enough? Ever since they can remember, Pyper, Catie, and Lemzel have been ostracized from the rest of their peers. Pyper, especially, has been constantly bullied by their ultimate nemesis Natalie since they were all five years old. After years of watching this abuse, Pyper's friends Catie and Lemzel have finally decided that the continuous hazing has to stop... but at what price? Written by
Darren J. Butler
Thanks to their creativity and talent, Darren J Butler and Ryan Sims (Runaway Productions) carry us throughout a film full of meanings and feelings. The whole story, very moving, emphasizes many issues teenagers can suffer, and bears a lot of important messages. Because "a Fix" is a 27 minutes short film, a few details and developments had to be left out, though. But even if a 'little something' is missing for the substance of the story, essential is there, and besides, pretty well performed. Also, the fact some scenes have been just skimmed over allows 'a Fix' to point out different issues like hazing, choking game, suicide, social class differences, need (or not) of violence to settle a problem, understanding of the runaway, difficulties to make a dream come true while preserving the whole weight of its main message: Peer pressure.
Technically, I think the result is very great, especially when we know the budget used. Visual and sound effects combinations are very well mastered, as well as transition styles (fades, silence, brutal cuts) which increases the emotion in many important scenes. However, I noticed that the slow motions are slightly jerky when used in fades. Close-up are well balanced and well lighted, and the camera movements are fluent during these specific shoots. The score is really nice and moving: Nicolas Rivera and Judy Rodman (Writer and Vocalist of the songs) did a very great job.
After having carefully watched the performance of each main actor, I definitely think Bridget Lappert's is the best one. She mastered her character very well and her reaction when confronted by each situation was perfect. Her performing was very professional. If she keeps up that way, Bridget will be a very promising actress. It is a shame her name has not been mentioned on the DVD cover. (Recto)
Skye McCole Bartusiak as a mean girl was brilliant, even if, sometimes, I noticed a little excess in her performing (little excess which, however, did not harm Natalie's personality in any way). Sure, she was comfortable and very convincing in this role.
Julianna Rose Mauriello succeeded in giving Pyper all her magnitude, especially in the scenes where she was battered (The two ones shot in the locker room were impressive and very moving). Anger and disappointment were very well mastered too. However, she seems to have some difficulties to correctly perform feelings like surprise or stupor (Maybe the most difficult ones to play since she already knows the screenplay). I also noticed a little excess in her performing sometimes, especially at the end of some of her lines. She also made a little mistake: She had a look at the camera at 07:46. Anyhow, 'a Fix' is her first movie and she does know her vocation. Julianna works very hard. She already is at her place, and represents, to my eyes, a brilliant hope for the Film Productions.
Andrew Sybert played an interesting character, fourth mainstay of the movie. I like Lemzel's personality, but it's a shame Andrew looked a bit uncomfortable in several scenes. His reaction when faced with the events was not always appropriate. On the other hand, his final scene in the shower stall was very well performed and full of feelings.
Finally, Hailey Anne Nelson's short appearance (choking game) was a strong moment in the movie: Real, hard, impressive. Also, I don't know whether a filter was used under the spot lights, but her skin turning white/pale blue increased the realism of this very special scene!
After having seen the short film, let's have a look at the DVD 'Special Features'.
'The Interviews.' I find them very interesting. It's good they have been included in the DVD feature. Thanks to them, we can discover what pushed Darren J Butler to do this film, as well as where his project comes from. Not many Productions get seriously into teenager issues: I find his words very noble. We can also discover the feelings each actor has about the movie and its messages. These interviews appear as a good complement to the short film.
The DVD also offers the Trailer (which has been very well edited and immediately made me want to know more about 'a Fix' when I watched it 9 months ago), the Deleted Scenes (one of them Discussion between Catie and Lemzel, a key point of the story to my eyes - could have been important to improve the substance of the movie), as well as Outtakes. This last bonus is a bit short but, if we take into account the outtakes included in the Interviews section, we have a great ensemble and good perception of the making of. I just regret that a little extra about the crew and their work was not included.
Conclusion: I can only recommend this DVD. Despite its running time restriction, the short film has succeeded in getting its message across. To my eyes, 'a Fix' deserves to go further and the whole story to grow in depth: the result would be awesome. I'm very happy to see Runaway Productions are planning to do it through TV series, musical stage production and, crossed fingers, the feature film. Darren, Ryan, as well as all the cast and crew, congratulations for the brilliant work you have already achieved. I wish you all the best for the continuation.
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