Directed by Fred Cavender Starring Bess Davies, Mark Chapman, Paul Wilson, Jair Massiah, Louis Hill Short Film Review by Evie Brudenall
Job interviews are daunting in the most casual and mundane of scenarios, but when there’s an unidentified timer countdown and no escape from a locked room, nerves and tension are increased exponentially.
In a waiting room, four hopefuls sit patiently for an upcoming job interview. The receptionist abruptly exits, but leaves behind a timer on his computer – 6 minutes and 16 seconds are on the clock and the interviewees must deduce what on earth is going on.
The premise may seem simple and vaguely familiar, but it is nonetheless fantastic and utterly engaging. This, in large part, is due to director Fred Cavender’s artistic and technical choices. For approximately seven minutes of the short’s ten-minute run-time, 6:16 is shot and captured in a single, unbroken take. It’s a remarkably impressive and ambitious feat and Cavender (who also assumes the role of Director of Photography) makes it look effortless. The blocking of every actor is also commendable as each of their movements seem motivated rather than a ploy to demonstrate camera technique.
6:16 boasts undeniable comparisons to several successful television shows, namely the anthology series’ Black Mirror and Inside No 9. However, Cavender’s short does not execute its shocking and unexpected twist with as much effectiveness as the aforementioned shows do. The reveal and its subsequent development in the film’s final minutes is frustratingly ambiguous and leaves the audience scratching their heads and with a number of questions on the tips of their tongues.
Meanwhile, the dialogue is mostly smart and fast-paced, evoking strong echoes of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s collaborative efforts, but several performances in the piece don’t feel as fluid, with vocal deliveries often striking effortful and melodramatic. Although, within a small time frame, these characters and their distinct personas are successfully established.
Overall, 6:16 is a thoroughly entertaining short that shows Cavender to be a truly promising talent with succinctly innovative content and ideas.
Watch 6:16 on the UK Film Channel below...