A worn-out, aging shearer who once rained king of the high country, gets on the gear to keep up his numbers. But when the drugs take over he must learn what it really means to be a man, ... See full summary »

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A worn-out, aging shearer who once rained king of the high country, gets on the gear to keep up his numbers. But when the drugs take over he must learn what it really means to be a man, before he loses so much more than his country pride -- MAN. Written by Anonymous

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Overly dramatic and direct
27 March 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A sheep-shearer struggling to hit his quota and keep up with the younger men turns to drugs to help him keep his edge; however when he is given an apprentice to train up, the impact of the pressure becomes too much for him.

Perhaps there is an element of social realism within this film that I am not aware of – perhaps the very gruff delivery of the world of sheep-shearing is the most honest depiction of life yet, however if it is then I have to apologize, because this short film felt anything but. The short starts with the manly world of the shearer and it is fairly bluntly shown to us in all its sweaty but yet franticly-edited glory. From here the film retains this blunt, direct tone and, while it may be fitting for Australian culture (the most direct of countries), it makes for a rather weak film. The bluntness in the depiction of the world is good to a point, however it spills over into the story too much and the delivery and detail becomes far too simple and one-note without any shading or detail.

Sam is far too obvious as a character and the plot around him is also far too direct and dramatic. There isn't a sense of people here so much as a feeling that the film wanted to have this big sense of drama but didn't want to build up to it so much as just jump right there from the start. The music is a bit heavy-handed; not only in its selection but in its use too – very loud, very dramatic and feeling like it is forcing the film to be somewhere that it cannot get on its own. The fundamentals of the world that the film is in are not well established either; perhaps drug-use is common in this world, but even if it is, Man doesn't convince in its own skin – again with the drugs element feeling like it is in there as a plot device to up the stakes. This is even clearer at the end where a gun is introduced for the sake of getting it into the story, and then of course immediately it is "in play" as it were; it is not just that the writing is clumsy – the delivery of it is too.

The film looks well shot and the heat comes across in the yellows, dust, and reds of the images; however it is edited too frantically so that it sets up a pace that doesn't allow anything to really bed in – and with the writing not doing it either, it really does leave an overly dramatic, direct, and unconvincing short film, with performances to match.


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