over 2015

Over [2015]: Jörn Threlfall has recently been named one of Screen International's "Stars of Tomorrow" and his latest short film Over has been nominated for a European Academy Award as well as having already taken home a handful of other impressive accolades.

Simple and Effective. The film is completely void of flashy spectacle or thrilling and exciting camera work. It's told simply and plainly in nine medium shots which are intercut here and there with inserts of action or specific bits of information. The story is told in reverse chronological order and slowly unfolds a mysterious happenstance on a quiet suburban street. The facts of this true story are so unique and absurd that presenting it in such a straightforward way is the smartest choice the filmmaker made here.

Plain and Mundane. As each moment in time progresses, we're presented with a simple frame that houses very simple action. A couple arrives for a dinner party. A father kicks a ball around with his son. A man cleans off the street. A car is towed. To any passerby (and the shot is distanced enough so that we feel we're simply standing on the opposite sidewalk), there isn't anything out of the ordinary. It's not until we start to piece together these seemingly unrelated moments that we perceive something has happened, but the facts as to what are not plainly placed.

Over and Under. The fun of the film, of course, is piecing together the event that's occurred. Getting small hints or clues as we progress from the late evening to the early morning of the given day is what keeps us intrigued and invested during the 13-minute runtime. It's never overwhelming or confusing, but it's not too simplified. It's just enough to get under your skin, cause you to raise an eyebrow, and get those cogs turning in your head at a nice steady pace.

How and Why? It's apparent that the technical side of this production is nothing significant. It's clearly a modestly budgeted short, and with such simple camera work and editing it doesn't seem like anything worth noting. The key is that for its humble dressing it's ultimately effective on multiple layers most may not consider. The sound design is seemingly subtle but is a standout, bringing us more into the scene as if we were an actual neighbor keeping up with the goings on. For what it seems to lack the film surprisingly contains a great deal that silently takes hold of the audience from the very beginning. It's almost unexplainable, but you'll undoubtedly sit through the duration of the film and not even know why. It's an interesting puzzle displayed in a distinctive way, and the final picture it paints once the pieces are fit together is worth the journey.

A cleverly simple puzzle displayed in a cleverly simple package.