Directed by Craig Moore
Starring Graham Earley, George Bracebridge
Short Film Review by Amy Cornforth
Any Last Words is a thought-provoking short film which explores the nature of revenge. Is revenge really worth it, even when you have nothing to lose? Although the short is not without its mistakes, it leaves the viewer with a lot to ponder.
The story follows an unnamed protagonist (Graham Earley), who reveals how he has lost everything; his wife, his house and his job, due to the greed of those ‘above’ him – and he believes it is time for drastic measures, signalling a transition into a short montage of the man getting ready to commit a murder. He kidnaps the man who is responsible for his misfortune (George Bracebridge) but when he begins to beg for his life, the protagonist begins to wonder whether to pull the trigger.
The film, in a word, is bleak – which perfectly conveys the hopelessness and desperation of the protagonist’s situation. This is best expressed through the film’s cinematography, particularly when dealing with location shots. The location has a bleakness to it, despite having a strange beauty. The landscape is more grey than green, and the sky is full of grey clouds, and it is evident that the image has been darkened slightly in post–production, with the intention of conveying a more hopeless atmosphere, which ultimately shows that killing the man who wronged him isn’t going to give the protagonist his life back. Moreover, the use of whistling wind noise sometimes enhances this feeling, but at certain moments, it distracts from the dialogue and slightly lowers the quality of the sound.
Any Last Words features some particularly good acting from the Earley. The movie opens with a close-up which lingers on his face – which really helps to capture his subtle facial expressions at this moment and also helps to place the viewer into the protagonist’s mindset, which is shown to be slightly chaotic through the shaky camera movements. He delivers a monologue filled with bitterness about his situation with brilliant expression, really conveying the pain he feels about losing everything he cares about. He particularly conveys his anger well, when facing the man who took everything from him. Bracebridge, though he has little screen-time, acts convincingly scared when faced with his death – [SPOILER] and sufficiently unlikable when he doesn’t learn anything from this encounter. [SPOILER END].
Overall, Craig Moore's film is a very interesting short, with aesthetically pleasing cinematography and good performances, despite a couple of glitches. The opening quote by Derek Landy ‘The only point in having enemies is so you can defeat them, kill them, brush them aside or offer them a chance for redemption,’ perfectly summarises the essence of this short.