Surprisingly, after watching Origin, I was left with the sound of Joni Mitchell singing Big Yellow Taxi in my head.
"Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone"
Imagine that, if you will, being played over a tritone - and you get the haunting theme to this short film.
As Freddy Holmes (Jack Blumenau) wanders in to the house, arm pouring with blood, you get the impression that it's going to take something more tragic than a bite to clear the emotional fog that's descended on his family. It's impenetrable.
Parents, Claire (Katy Carmichael) & Jimmy (Lee Ross) are utterly disengaged. Him, lost in the mundane routine of work, struggling to present any manners or grace in front of his long standing wife. Her, so eroded by the experience that she's seeking comfort elsewhere.
Yet the bite on their son's arm refuses to heal and the ensuing infection slowly takes Freddy away from them piece by piece. As he fades, the resulting void becomes a black hole that brings Claire & Jimmy together in the crashing realisation that they did in fact have 'something'.
It amazes me just how much information can be conveyed in circa 13 minutes. The briefness of the story left a fascination that was hard to shake. Yet, by the final credits, I came away feeling that I had invested in the family & completely engaged in their drama.
There were some great things in this award winning short. The casting was excellent. Every member delivered what was necessary at each moment of the story arc. I particularly liked the way that Carmichael & Ross began to rediscover their relationship in the hospital scenes. By the time the wheezing Blumenau finally gave up the ghost, I was utterly convinced by their winded, wordless, grief stricken stumbling. Moreso considering that all this had to be effective in under thirteen minutes.
I was also really pleased to find out that 'short' didn't mean 'cheap'. This film looked good throughout and even a touch beautiful in places. I never felt like I was fighting the direction as it flowed nicely - and the whole piece was bereft of clunky or awkward dialogue.
Ultimately, I felt haunted by the fate of Freddy. Further by the fact that it took an event of that magnitude to slap the parents out of their trance and bring them to appreciate the value of what they had as they stood in its wake.
I'm talking as if it's a news item rather than a drama. I've been reeled in. I defy others to achieve the same effect in such a short timescale.
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