A Kiss So Warm and Tender short film review

★★★

Directed by: #RobHurtt

Written by: #RobHurtt

Starring: #PaulKelleher, #EricColvin, #AnnaLeongBrophy

Short Film Review by: Shrubaboti Bose




The opening scene is marked by an old school romantic song played on an electronic device, the melancholic lyrics emphasising the overall gloomy mood, “I hope that I don’t fall in love with you, ‘cause falling in love just makes me blue” while the sound of rain and thunder outside makes us somehow anticipate an impending danger. Here, it is important to note how the protagonist stands with his back to the camera. When he turns to us, we notice how the set is small and almost claustrophobic giving us the impression of a den or a cave. Scenes are shot in close-ups, zooming mainly on the facial expressions of the actors than focusing on the objects surrounding them.


The protagonist appears to be a mafia lord even though he describes himself as being a “respectable businessman”, dressed in a formal attire with a matching black tie, and using polite diplomatic language. When he gets emotional while reminiscing about his wife, May, he uses a red satin handkerchief to wipe his eyes. On a whole, he has a personality that exudes a certain dark aura of dominance and power. Especially, his low-pitched voice and the measured tone of his dialogues laced with sarcasm and a tacit imposition of his own authority as someone who is confident about his control over the situation at hand.


Paul Kelleher's acting seemed heavily inspired by Marlon Brando in The Godfather, however, one must also appreciate the sincerity and accuracy with which he delivers his lines and punctuates them with his pauses, enunciating each word with careful diction. He uses words like “a two-bit punk nightclub owner”, and “cheapskate” when he addresses Bradley which reflects his deep resentment and contempt for the man. It is significant to note that the faces of the characters are frequently left in the shadows or half-lit, effectively heightening the existing tension and suspense in the sequence of events that follow.


In comparison to the refined appearance of the protagonist, Mr. Bradley who is brought in by a mysterious gorilla-masked underling of the boss is clad only in a ragged sleeveless white vest, blood stained and badly beaten up. His left eye had already turned black and blue with bruises. He seemed to be in a pretty bad shape. The director has deliberately created such a stark contrast in the depiction of the two characters with the help of their different costumes and the difference in the position of their heights to mirror their power status.


The repetitive gun shots aimed at Bradley even after he is dead proves the immense disgust the protagonist held in reserve for the guy. The violence is more hard-hitting when we realise that he had also got his wife, May, killed, despite loving her, mainly instigated by his feelings of jealousy and anger at being cheated. The presence of the masked juggler perhaps signifies fate and how everything is ironical in reality. The broken vows of the marriage haunts us as the film ends with the echo of, “I love you sweetheart, forever.” and what remains lingering in our mind is the hollow laughter of the protagonist towards the closure. This film efficiently captures the essence of a spirit of vengeance and portrays the revenge carried out through a brief, chilling encounter.