Short Film Review “Previous”



First, the Recap:

Reminiscence. Value is placed on our ability to remember. Be it fond recollection of childhood and lives well spent, or the more hurtful reflections of deeds we regret and those we’ve lost, memory remains a constant presence. However, what occurs when that recognition of past events is suddenly ripped away, and what secrets fade with it? Waking up in a hospital dazed and confused, a man named Stewart (Nick Wheelehon) attempts to make sense of who he is and why he is there. The head physician, Dr. Allen (Brenda Crawley), advises him of his involvement in a severe car accident, and that he has amnesia due to it.

In the meantime, even as an additional professional, Dr. Noleman (Gregory Adair), tries assuring Stewart his memory will return, a local cop named John (Hassan Baby Boy Oliver) battles his own conscious in having a rash of brutal murders remain unsolved, the case taken away from him and his partner, Heins (John J. Palomino). Unwilling to let it go, and somehow thinking there is a connection between Stewart and the killings, John pushes to have Stewart arrested once he’s released from hospital care. As Stewart’s mind slowly begins to return, flashbacks to previous events involving a woman, Gloria (Fiamma Piacentini), trigger a chain of remembrances and a shocking truth.

Next, my Mind:

While not necessarily carrying the dramatic weight and emotionally-charged delivery of her other recent short film effort “Go Fish“, writer/director/producer Jamila J. Brown still creates an air of mystery here that rises just above average fare mainly by hitting the viewer in the face with one kicker of a finale that illustrates the age-old concept of how things are not always what they seem on the surface.  How quick we as human beings are to judge events and people without knowing all the facts, simply wanting a quick fix of success rather than taking the time to really dig further into the elements involved and perhaps actually listen to those who we say are guilty, but in truth are potentially not. The pacing here is solid, the cinematography fine all the way through, a good music score is present, basically making up all the features of a decently made movie.  But again, for this reviewer, had it not been for its well-conceived and crafted finale, it is just that, decent.

With the overall uncomplicated nature of the narrative, the actors do succeed in bringing it all to life believably enough. Wheelehon’s Stewart is a man out of sorts, trying to piece together a shattered series of happenings as his wrecked memory begins to becoming less hazy. As he does recall events, the desperation he experiences is real and jarring, even as he also tries to make those authorities around him listen, and Wheelehon enacts this well. Oliver’s ragged detective John is bent on resolving the murders he cannot let go of, no matter what he has to do or the orders he is defying. His drive and determination are admirable, but we wonder if his skills are truly being brought to bear enough to find the actual facts. Palomino plays John’s partner Heins exactly how we would picture as an officer making moves to prevent his partner from going too far in his obsession with the case, yet still being willing to fully back him up, to a certain extent at least.

For her smaller role here, Piacentini does one of the most effective jobs as Gloria, a woman with whom Stewart has been involved and who may be much more than she appears. It is a pivotal aspect of the story she plays, and Piacentini carries it off with poise. Additional supporting roles via Crawley’s Dr. Allen and Adair’s psychiatrist Dr. Noleman are present as mentioned, along with other satellite characters played by Michael Fels, Fawn Dyer, Rodney Daniel, Linda Simon, and Nataniele Montfort among others.  In total, “Previous” stands, as indicated above, a decent piece of indie short film effort that keeps the notion alive that having the ability to even make a film of any sort is a task unto itself, and that effort, passion, and intent behind the end product the viewer sees is commendable all on its own.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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