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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A promising new talent...

9/10
Author: Amanda M from Canada
30 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gritty, well cast, well directed. A bit slow at first but the pacing picks up appropriately to bring an unnerving, dark look into the realities of life as a child of an addicted, abusive parent. The use of breathing and snapshots to portray the crumbling of Victoria's innocence and her descent into the dark gutter of survival is effective, disturbing and moving. The actors all put in great performances, they all fit their roles perfectly-especially the mother.

Shot on a small budget, this short nevertheless looks and feels professional. This film proves that "independent film" doesn't equal poor quality and lack of focus. At a time when Canadian film & television are finally discarding their self consciousness and emerging from the tall shadow of Hollywood, Zaid Adham is an exciting discovery filled with confidence, talent and promise. This short is hopefully just the beginning of great things to come, and I eagerly anticipate his future works.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Casting, Creative, Congrats!

8/10
Author: David Jackson from Canada
18 January 2009

I really enjoyed watching this short, Everyone has likes and dislikes when it comes to watching films, And it is my opinion that it maybe really hard to find anything to dislike about Minus 1. Each one of the cast members carried themselves in a brilliant fashion, the mother was terrific. The score was fitting and I thought the use of the still images was very creative. I question the initial lapse of time at the start of the film, felt that it could have moved a little quicker, however was kept interested none the less.

Depliction of the dark side of life is a wonderful pallet to explore on film and I have to say the production crew did a wonderful job painting this picture. Well done!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Haunting

9/10
Author: sarah-azh
18 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this gripping short film, amplified waves of emotion are transposed with a spectrum of dark colors and surreal sound bites to present a soul in the throes of abuse and addiction. This debut heralds the arrival of a new but confident vision of the discomfiting, itching, altogether physical nausee of raw humanity. Zaid Adham's efforts are a good example of the capacities of low-budget production. Fused with loyalty to the enterprise of projecting time, space and human consciousness, Minus 1 does not look or sound like an independent film, but rather sails with the ease and intimacy of a learned eye and an open heart. It is a moving, considered approach to daunting material that is almost exclusively denied the brand of insight it requires, while remaining at all times the platform onto which Adham positions his viewer on this dark but mesmerizing trip. The film is an exciting taste of what this talented director has in store for the future. Thumbs up.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Minus 1 - review

8/10
Author: Burke Mudge from Canada
16 January 2009

I caught one of the earliest screenings of this provocative short film at the National Film Board of Canada in Toronto.

Zaid Adham is an ambitious young writer/director with grand plans and his creative visions are gritty, raw and disconcerting. Not necessarily giving the viewer the world we want, but rather the world as it is. The subject matter is dark and the excellent editing and use of colour give some particularly unpleasant scenes a more sinister edge.

Minus 1 was shot on a tight budget and Mr. Adham did so admirably with his entrepreneurial instincts and a will to succeed. This effort, along with his other celluloid work should ensure that we have only just begun to see the work of an artist who's constantly striving to tell a story through the craft of the lens, however jaded it may be.

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I will recommend this

8/10
Author: Dawn Harris from United States
30 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Despite low-budget, this is a well produced short. The light and angle of shots are both interesting and thought out. The foretelling through the shot angles keeps me drawn in, and waiting for the next action. The sound effects and soundtrack are both extremely well thought out and executed. The layers and layers of sound compliment the action to a tee. On the appropriate speaker, this film will probably be one of the creepiest experiences (in the best possible way) you will have encountered.

-Not pleased with the believably of the acting in the fight scene. -I very much liked the twist at the end

Zaid Adhem is a talented film maker and this in one of several finished products that I have had the pleasure to view. He is trained in every aspect of film making and practices frequently. I have had the pleasure to view his work as an actor, screenwriter, director, and all aspect of sound and production. I openly recommend his films and this short.

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This short will draw you in

8/10
Author: Angelica de Camp from United States
2 August 2010

There is no question that sound is incredibly important in this short and was one of the components that I enjoyed most. I feel it really set the tone from the beginning and helped increase the tension throughout. Like the other reviewer, I also liked the use of stills. I feel as though that particular scene would not have worked as well if they had not been used. As for the actors, I feel Claire Duncan was a real stand out and did an exceptional job.

Overall, I feel this was an effective film tackling an uncomfortable subject. It has definitely piqued my interest in seeing the future work of Mr. Adham.

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A hard look at youth and humanity

10/10
Author: J Marie A from Canada
9 June 2010

This is an amazing short from Director Zaid Adham. From the bleak, scene-setting intro shots to the grim conclusion Minus 1 will take you on an uncomfortable trip into a young woman's life. Exceptional camera-work blends seamlessly with the creative soundtrack to pull you in to the protagonist's world.

The actors are all dead on with harsh, realistic performances. Zaid shows us a story without telling us everything. The soundtrack offers hints, but nothing is absolutely clear. The viewer is invited to walk with the protagonist, without being allowed to hear her thoughts. For 13 minutes we are trapped in Victoria's world with her. This is not escapist fluff: it is a hard look at a life devoid of choice.

I look forward to more work from Zaid.

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great think piece

10/10
Author: frank_petrella from United States
30 January 2010

In a time when the media is content to peddle trite, comedic pap and audiences are satisfied with movies that offer little substance, Zaid Adham's film, "Minus 1", is a stark look at a seamy reality and awareness that not everyone survives. Teenage addiction, prostitution and domestic violence, and the hopelessness engendered by them, are complex themes to confront and difficult issues to film with any degree of believability.

In just over thirteen minutes, his film takes us into a young woman's tragic world from which there is, presumably, no way out and certainly no return. As voyeurs, we can be sympathetic with Adham's main character, because she is as real as her lack of options. Misfortunes are difficult to accept as being the result of choices made, and it is to Zaid's credit that he underscores when the main character projects responsibility for that misfortune to someone else. No one, save for the symbol of her childhood innocence, is there for her...even God is uncommunicative.

Zaid Adham seems to have a sense of the elements that constitute a misfortune or tragedy while possessing the ability to create a visual narrative out of them. "Minus 1" is a skillful example of his capabilities as a filmmaker and a solid indicator of the quality of future offerings.

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An excellent work from a fresh new perspective

8/10
Author: ialdaloboth from United States
2 February 2009

A very disturbing work with a harsh, yet very human eye, Minus 1 is an excellent debut for director Zaid Adham. The story achieves a stark, creepy, almost Lynchian tone under his direction, with amazingly effective uses of sound and shot to set up a cold world where reality is only as certain as your next fix.

The sound was one of the best pieces of the film for me: the bits where the cacophony threatens to overwhelm the listener is some of the more horrifying film I've seen in a while, due to the suggestion it evokes. The color palette was appropriately muted, given the nature of the story, and the stop-action sequences were suitably nightmarish.

As for the acting, it was mostly good. I think the mother was great until she started talking: it would have been better if she'd remained mostly silent and let her actions (or lack thereof) speak for her. However, the pusher was delightfully real, and the main character did an excellent job with her role.

With all these elements together, under Mr. Adham's direction, the piece hangs together wonderfully right up through the end. I hope to see longer and more ambitious works from this director, soon.

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