Directed by: Tim Hewitt
Written by: Tim Hewitt
Starring: Paul McGann, Owen Brenman
Based on the short story by acclaimed English writer Graham Greene, this psychological thriller will bring the audience into the mind of a tormented man.
James Craven (McGann) is a successful author who is suffering from writer's block. He lives by himself, enjoys old, black-and-white films and regularly sees a therapist (Brenman) and discusses his issues with him. Not being able to write and plagued by nightmares that involve his wife and daughter, James appears to be loosing his grip on reality.
McGann delivers a great performance as a lonely, troubled man, who appears to have suffered a serious tragedy and seems to have hit a brick wall. He is always sad and does not seem to know how to move on with his life.
The film dwells deep into the hero's psychological state, pointing out his issues and interests and makes it clear that he is a broken man who is losing his path in life. There are also elements of horror, particularly when James is having nightmares, and there is also quite a jump scare!
The mise-en-scene also deserves recognition. The nightmare sections are brief, but they really do send a chill down one's spine as they show James walking by himself in a cemetery at night. The furniture in James's home also provide an insight into the kind of person he is. For instance, there are posters of classic films on the walls, indicating that these are the kind of movies he enjoys.
It is worth mentioning that one of the posters is off the 1949 film noir The Third Man, which was written by Graham Greene and is therefore an obvious reference and homage to him.
In addition to Greene, the film also pays homage to the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock, by having two of his films, Blackmail (1929) and Psycho (1960), played at the cinema that James attends.
The main focus is a troubled person who has bad dreams, and begins to be mixing up reality with fiction. Such plot will likely make the viewer think of Jacob's Ladder (1990) and The Machinist (2004).
Overall this short film deserves a lot of praise. McGann's wonderful acting, the suspenseful atmosphere and Graeme Rawson's music are combined and result in an experience worth pursuing.