Written and Directed by: #MatthewWeinstein
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there”
Not only the renowned opening line from L.P. Hartley’s novel The Go Between, but also the axis on which short film A Missed Connection from Chicago based #filmmaker Matthew Weinstein spins on.
On a typically cold and frosty Chicago night, frustrated writer Jacob (Pistorius) is having yet another disheartening day in a long series of disheartening days. His entire being seems devoid of any positivity or passion, no longer following his literary dreams and instead working the nice-to-five grind like most, broken briefcase and all. After that luxury items spontaneously spills its contents out into the sodden city streets, he seeks solace in a local coffee shop, secretly mixes his order with his own special crutch and begins to sort out the drenched paperwork that sums up his life.
As chance would have it, former college friend Lauren is also having a bad night, having been stood up and finding herself alone at the same coffee shop. As the two cross paths for the first time in years, what starts as a simple exchange of pleasantries and obligatory catch-up chatter transforms into a conversation that carries long into night, where fond memories bring about deep emotions and consequential revelations.
A Missed Connection is a film nearly a decade in the making with writer, director and producer Weinstein often being diverted by other commitments during that time, but his patience and perseverance for this project has paid off in spades and he has clearly taken that time to be as diligent as he can be. The script is incredibly tight, we can easily forgive the negligible stutter in dialogue here and there when the rest is of such a high standard. It manages to come across not only as refreshingly authentic but also feels uniquely tailored to each character allowing them each their own distinct voice.
Asides from the meticulous writing, some outstanding performances can also be attributed to the success of this piece. The body language, the subtle mannerisms in both performances from Pistorius and Vaughn tell us as much if not more about the subtext of Lauren and Jacobs relationship than countless words ever could. Pistorius might appear somewhat rigid at the start, but it of course makes a world of sense as the film plays out, his character being one that hides behind ostentatious words barbed with cynicism rather than expressing real ones, which works as a wonderful juxtaposition compared to Vaughn’s more disarming and optimistic Lauren, who manages to slowly peel away at the layers of Jacobs shell to a point where they can start to have a real conversation.
And finally, as part of a filmmaking holy trinity at play here, the on-point camerawork and framing are the glue that holds it altogether. Opting for wide angled open shots towards the beginning, the film then slowly brings the lens in closer and closer, brilliantly mirroring the increasingly intimate nature of this encounter as it draws to a close, all this amplified by a bittersweet score against a beautifully melancholic snowy Chicago backdrop.
A real triumph, Weinstein has managed to craft a fully formed story of hope and second chances out of a near twenty-two-minute runtime. A Missed Connection is a truly serendipitous tale of lamenting things unsaid but not allowing yourself to be haunted by the past and having faith that it’s never too late.
Watch the trailer here: