Directed by: Ruth Beni, Daniel Greaves
Written by: Ruth Beni
Starring: Mubin Al-Khafaji, Jadesola Cole, Perez Thomas-Gaye, Zeina Ducasse
Feeling stressed out and worried can cause a lot of problems. It can help if one talks to others about what is worrying them.
This wonderful and beautiful animated short gets into the mind of a schoolboy, who is troubled by bad thoughts. The boy leaves his home to go to school. As he walks through town, he is being pursued by a sinister-looking black mist. At school, his fellow classmates realize that something is wrong and attempt to get him to talk about it. The narrative is rather simple. It is the way it is structured and the animation that make this film so unique.
The black mist is not real and represents the negative feelings the boy is experiencing. And it chases him around, the same way a monster would. This interesting technique gives the impression that this is what negative feelings would look like, if they had a form: like a monster, like a menacing entity.
From start to finish, this film is a pleasure to watch. The animation combines hand-drawn, stop motion and computer generated animation. The colors look terrific and very pleasing to the eye. Every single shot has had a great deal of work and creativity put into it and the creators make very effective use of shadows.
Although the entire film is a highlight, there is a sequence that stands out. When the boy is in the classroom, another student throws a piece of paper at him. The paper apparently contains a written message, however when the boy attempts to read it, there are no letters, but sketches of the other pupils that come to life and talk to him, asking him about his problems. And in order to respond, the boy enters the paper, turning into a sketch himself and explains his issues to them. This clever scene is filled with imagination and innovation, delivering a very interesting way of storytelling.
The sound effects are outstanding throughout. They sound realistic and provide a couple of jump scares! The voice actors do an outstanding job, delivering believable dialogue and adding great qualities. And the music is interesting and entertaining and successfully accompanies the images.
All of Our Shadows is a beautifully told tale, with mesmerizing visuals and it carries an important message. That message is that if someone has problems, then they should talk to others about them. The film also explores themes of social isolation, self-confidence, friendship, knife crime and growing up. It also contains elements of horror, due to the menacing mist that follows the hero. It does end though with an uplifting note.