Directed By Beau Fowler Starring Francesca Fowler, Jonathan Power, Togo Igawa Short Film Review by Owen Herman
Chameleon, from Ki Films, is a short action thriller set in a near future Tokyo. It centres on Sam (Francesca Fowler), a rebel captured and held by the mysterious U.N.O., as she contemplates escape.
Simply put, from beginning to end I was thrilled (which is probably quite important for a thriller). The dark, dank prison cell provides a setting that automatically unsettles the viewer and the tremendous score cements the nail-biting tone. Without the solid writing and strong performances the plot may have felt a tad unoriginal, but I was engaged and intrigued. However I thought the final plot twist was a bit too much; the viewer may feel dragged out of the experience as they half-expect it to turn into a comedic quadruple crossing Mexican standoff.
The short film’s standout moment was the brutal fight scene halfway through. Hollywood has a real problem with fight scenes; the use of jarring shaky cam, poor lighting and confusing cuts can result in something really hard to follow. It is really impressive that Chameleon went against this trend and delivered a clear, well-choreographed fight that is smoothly put together with skilful camera work and editing. The cinematography and editing incorporate an intelligent use of focus and the management of light and dark is exceptional. There are a couple of sinister shots using the darkness behind characters that look spectacular. Talking of sinister, Togo Igawa deserves a special mention. A good action-thriller needs a good villain and his performance makes the mysterious Tai convincing and very threatening.
Overall, until the final plot twist, Chameleon is an engaging action thriller that is very well made. The fantastically thrilling score creates an atmosphere that the film lives up to. The 15 minute run time certainly felt a lot shorter and I was left wanting more, and that is always a great sign for a short film.
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