Directed by: #PhilDunn
Written by: #TheodoreBrun and Phil Dun
Opening with a car driving through the gorgeous familiarity of London’s nightlife to the tune of “Amir” by Henri Texler, About lures in the audience’s attention with its graceful ease. Street lights reflecting off wet roads, people roaming the pavements, the echo of house parties, director and co-writer Phil Dunn paints a comfortable picture of a normal night that can be seen from outside the windows of a rideshare car. That comfort, however, can just be a ruse as About is a film that asks questions on what we really know of what’s around us as a car ride home has two strangers, Rebecca and Caitlin discuss a mutual acquaintance as theirs.
Cinematographer Mario Genovese along with Dunn’s editing are sure not to fall into a rut in depicting how this conversation plays out visually. A short film about two people talking in a car is usually a tried and tested recipe for cinematic boredom but Genovese’s shot compositions serve the story well. Dunn’s editing like his direction is all about this accepted routine of events, the characters as well as the audience don’t question anything about what’s happening around them. It’s a car ride through London, Dunn cuts to close-ups when characters are speaking, reverse shots for reactions, cuts to establishing shots of the car driving during the lulls, its everything you’d expect. Genovese’s shots of Natasha Alderslade’s Rebecca looking out the car window as the lights reflect across the windows captures how you can get lost in your little world, which is what allows Dunn to pull off About’s bait and switch.
Both Alderslade and Ellie Piercy’s performances are terrific, the discussion into their acquaintance Tom fills the scene with natural ease rather than awkward expository regurgitation. Theodore Brun and Dunn’s script has the dialogue consistently shift the balance of power between Rebecca and Caitlin, initially about their connections to Tom but both actresses can convey how it affects their self-confidence. Especially Rebecca’s character who talks about her and Tom had a romantic entanglement, possibly hidden as they were work colleagues. Rebecca brings this up to either make Caitlin jealous or to just voice a part of her hidden from everyone else with Alderslade’s performance showing stirring vulnerability. These are both women trying to navigate the world around them, unable to see the whole picture but the pieces they share help them see a little clearer for better or worse.
Which makes the ending even more of whiplash, without going into specifics Dunn’s direction layers the performances and editing to hide quite the surprise for the characters. It’s unexpected and expected all at the same time as Dunn makes clear it's a normal night in London and the film concerns itself with questions on what is actually right in front of us. About defines itself with terrific cinematography, direction, music and performance, it doesn’t conclude the story of Rebecca and Caitlin conventionally but does enough to make the whole experience engaging.