Directed by: Aaron O'Neill
Written by: Aaron O'Neill, Simon Russell
Starring: Michael McGarry, Richard J. Hodgen, Michael Cloke
Aaron O’Neill’s short film, Clann, which the director wrote with Simon Russell, is Game of Thrones meets Vikings. We have nightmares, hallucinations, conflicts, period costumes, period setting, and a small amount of gore. No, there are no hot babes and steamy sex scenes. What it also doesn’t have is clarity. I am sure the filmmakers have very exciting ideas on their minds, but the audience passes judgment based on the final product delivered to them. They don’t see what’s on your mind. They see what’s in front of them on the screen. And what’s on the screen is a convoluted mess that wanders chaotically without any sense of control or direction.
As far as your eyes reach, all you grab is self-congratulatory handshakes and not consuming passion. The objective seems to be that of making a film instead of putting your soul into creating one. Filmmaking is an art that is time-consuming and requires a lot of dedication. Everyone sheds their sweat (and sometimes blood) to bring a vision to life. Clann is no different. However, it’s so callously treated that it ultimately comes out devoid of any significant emotion. Technically, the short is all over the place. People lag while walking and talking. We awkwardly cut between a conversation and a group of people engaged in some activity. The sound is poorly mixed, rendering the dialogues unintelligible. I wish all films, irrespective of scale or budget or language, start coming with subtitles in them. The sound oscillates from very loud to very low.
The tone of Clann is shambolic. It wants to be serious but also doesn’t want us to take itself seriously. Yes, it’s as confusing as my sentence. Sample this: the main protagonist named Oisin (Michael McGarry) is in a fatal situation. It’s a matter of life and death. The tone suggests we root for him and gasp at the subsequent developments, but the actor delivers his lines in a way that suggests this is a campy, almost a spoof scene not meant to be taken seriously. It doesn’t help that the fights are staged like a kindergarten play with actors killing and falling like toddlers performing on the stage. There may be a good idea, a noble intention at the heart of Clann. But you need adept skills to provide justice to your conceptions.