Directed By Simeon Lumgair
Starring Fabien Lucciarini, Mouna Bouchouk
Short film review by Marko Mandic ￼
It is an uncomplicated idea with stylistic aspirations to Jean Pierre Melville (particularly his 1967 Le Samourai). The film’s theme and underlining story is interesting and could in fact be extended into a longer running time. When the end comes I would like to delve deeper into the film’s myth and I am intrigued to know more about Felix’s back-story. Unfortunately the 10 minute running time does not account for this and thus it takes away some of the impact the story potentially has.
We have some teething problems from the outset, the score, although haunting and appropriate is misused a lot of the time. It is overbearing and although in some cases using a shift in score to parallel the shift in mood can be well implemented here it seems somewhat forced. Five compositions are used for as many scenes and the parallel between scene and score is too basic and stapled together to produce the effective ambience the filmmakers are trying to present. This is especially true in a dark pursuit scene near the beginning, it starts out suspenseful but due to the protracted chase scene the tension gets lost along the way.
Vijey Anant’s cinematography is very well done, exploiting night time central London to good effect and remains in keeping with the film’s overall style. We do see some technical problems arise; close up and tracking shots in particular suffer at certain moments due to poor camera focus. The editing is not always in sync which goes some way in disturbing the flow of the film.
Another downfall is the script, it is rather simplistic. This could be forgiven to an extent due to the running time along with the fact that the majority of the short film has no actual speech. The filmmakers seemingly needed to provide as much exposition as they could in a short length of time but despite this the conversations between the two central characters come across as artificial. This is a shame because the acting (from Fabien Lucciarini especially) is decent for the most part. He skilfully utilises acting nuances into his performance which do not give too much away but upon re-watching fall into accordance with the character’s actions and motivations.
Generally Éluder is a mixed bag, a solid idea discredited by a few rookie problems which could have been avoided. It would have benefited greatly from technical and editorial improvements along with better soundtrack implementations. Saying this, it was brave of the filmmakers to attempt it with the running time and resources at their disposal; the overall narrative and characters are strong enough to warrant further attention should the director decide to revisit them.
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