Short Film Review “Shallow”

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First, the Recap:

At what cost does success come? When you would find yourself in a position to gain higher influence, power, income, friends–how much do you truly want it?  Will it come as the result of hard work and moral choices?  Or, will it end up revealing who you really are inside? For freshly elected MP Richard Dove (Dan Stevens), it would appear the latter shall be his path as he navigates a mist-shrouded forest road on his way to a final destination, practicing an acceptance speech and fielding a phone call as he goes.

One moment causes him to look away, just as a small flash of yellow and hurried movement crosses the road in front of him. When the sudden, violent encounter is over seconds later, Dove realizes what has transpired. Initially in shock and trying to seek help, his next decision becomes exceedingly and horrifically self-centered, choosing to quite literally bury the evidence. Seemingly home free, circumstances change upon the arrival of his victim’s mother, Amanda (Emily Bruni) who asks him for help locating her child. To cover up his mistake, what lengths will Dove go to keep his dark secret hidden?

Next, my Mind:

Illustrating the terrible depths the human soul, heart, and mind can sink to in order to protect a less than reputable motivation and sense of twisted self-preservation, writer/director William Bridges paints a gripping, darkly-toned visual tapestry with this 16-minute thriller. The film’s murky woods setting is more than apropos, granting the narrative an even more ominous and creepy backdrop, while Edward Farmer’s music score likewise enhances the acute tension experienced throughout the entire film once events have occurred to set the lead character’s gravely selfish actions in motion.

“Downton Abbey” alum Stevens is a complete gem in this effort as the unequivocally egocentric and completely self-serving politician Dove, whose own initial indications of exactly how much so he is this way before the tragic run-in is only that much more enhanced after it. Stevens so effectively trolls the line between Dove’s first reaction surprise when the realization of what he’s done hits, but that turns flat out diabolical when actually coming up with the grim resolution he initiates. The character’s harried attitude and rapidly devolving manner is very well enacted by Stevens as well.

Adding a fantastically placed foil to Dove’s “he got away with it” plan, Bruni’s Amanda is a finely utilized presence, well played by the actress, who brings the worried and frantic mother into the already warped scenario, causing more than a fair share of new concern on Dove’s part as she doggedly does everything she can to try and find her lost daughter. Thanks to the brief but totally pivotal appearance of Amelia Beney as the victim Nessa, the entire affair is made fatally complete. Overall, “Shallow” is yet another formidable, disturbing view of humanity at its worst, perhaps to remind us about how much more we should consider our actions and outlooks in this ever-changing thing called life.

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


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