In today’s two short film reviews, I will be discussing Alan Rickman and an elephant-human hybrid. Both of these short films can be found on Youtube, and are well worth watching if you enjoy plot twists and excellent practical effects. Onwards!
Ben Ockrent & Jake Russell, 8 minutes
Dust is a short film that will blow your expectations out of the water. This film begins with a supremely creepy setup – Alan Rickman is an unkempt looking older gentleman who is casually following a young schoolgirl and her single mother. I won’t spoil the rest, but I will say that whatever your expectations are after the above sentence, you should watch this film to note how surprised you are by it. Alan Rickman is one of my favourite actors, and despite this film being less than ten minutes, he makes you feel as if he’s putting in the performance of a two-hour long film. He doesn’t have any dialogue in this, but his expressive features and body language more than communicate his character’s complexities. The direction by Ben Ockrent and Jake Russell is filled with so much tension, and feels disturbing from the very beginning, lending a dark atmosphere to the overall story. This short film feels like a big practical joke on our expectations, and I really loved it.
Pablo Larcuen, 9 minutes
An initially fast-paced film that finishes with a surprisingly emotive twist, the Spanish-language short film Elefante tells the story of a robotic office worker who doesn’t enjoy his life, hobbies, or family at all. One day he reports a headache to his doctor and is informed that he is actually turning into a literal elephant. Thus, this bland man’s unusual adventures begin. This film was a strange one because the concept is strong and is very interesting, but it has a dip in engagement – for me, once he turns into the elephant, some of the tension is lost and it becomes slightly boring during the middle third. However, the film’s conclusion is a one-two punch right to the feelings department, and it cannot be denied that to bring the audience’s engagement back in such a rapid pace takes skill. I really liked this despite the dip in attention towards the middle. The direction is solid and the practical effects are great. Aside from a noticeably non-prehensile trunk, this elephant man looks pretty convincing. Just don’t expect anything as life-changing as the David Lynch film about a different type of elephant man.