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Camera Test Subject short film review


Directed by: #SeanMeehan

Written by: #SeanMeehan

Starring: #TimothyJCox


Actor sat down, looking off screen, night time
Timothy J. Cox in Camera Test Subject

Camera Test Subject is a short film, following an actor hired to be the camera test subject of the unknown camera operator referred to as ‘The Man’. The film encapsulates New York at night whilst highlighting the reality of being an actor.

The opening piano accompaniment and establishing shot of New York at night with the traffic lights and high-rise buildings immediately sets up the scene and tone of the film. The shots are well-lit and highlight New York’s night scene really well, it shows some hustle and bustle while remaining focused on the one character (Test Subject) played by Timothy J. Cox. Meehan focuses on the smaller, more intimate parts of the city to produce an honest and more realistic view which immerses you in city life and alongside the character.

You may well recognise Timothy J. Cox’s name, he’s starred in many short films, including The Jungle of Accounting, another incredible short film (go check out my review!). He’s a terrific, charismatic actor, and can give away so much with even the little movement of an eyebrow or slight change in stance. I love his work and in this film, he provides excellent humour and brings life to an already outstanding script. The film stands at just over 2 and a half minutes, and with such short runtime it could be difficult to leave an impression, but he does it brilliantly and leaves you wanting more.

The guerrilla-style of filmmaking brings you up close and personal with the character, you feel as though you’re invading his space, much like the character of ‘The Man’ who you never see, but learn a lot about. The dialogue is delivered entirely through a monologue which allows you to enjoy the visual elements of this film and just sit back and listen. Cox’s performance is outstanding, his facial expressions matched with his tone of voice deliver a witty punch that makes this film thoroughly enjoyable.

Sean Meehan (writer/director) and Timothy have worked together before, in 2010 they made The Beach Comber, a 4-minute short; after 10 years it’s lovely to see the two collaborating again. Meehan appears a fan of the guerrilla-style as he makes use of it in The Beach Comber too, he benefits from homing in on his skill and delivering well-filmed pieces that fit perfectly into that style. Usually for me, hand-held isn’t my favourite but I really enjoyed the way it played out in this film as it felt right for the piece.

Though there appears to be a lack of narrative, the script is actually far more complex, the inner workings of someone’s thoughts can be hard to come across as accurate and natural, but here Meehan has accomplished just that. The inner monologue gives us an insight into the character’s thoughts and it’s incredibly well written. At one point, Test Subject begins listing off capitals of states in a bid to relinquish his boredom, we’ve all been there, trying anything to make the time pass, and it’s a perfect touch to this already great film.

As an audience, you feel a part of this film, and because it’s so quick it’s a shame when it ends! I would definitely love to see more from these two together as it works so well here. Camera Test Subject is a witty short film, the score is perfect, the acting is tremendous and under 3 minutes, you’ve no excuse to not give it a watch!



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