Written and Directed by #MatthewR.Ford
In Matthew R. Ford’s short film #ClimbingTrees, there is an overwhelming sense of loss and sadness evoked from the very beginning. In this quietly affecting character study, Tee Morris plays Kris, a father haunted by dreams of his eight year old daughter who was murdered twelve years earlier. This tragic character study and meditation on grief and its effects boasts impressive acting from its lead and a stand out score.
Climbing Trees follows Kris as he tries to live his life twelve years on from the tragedy, yet he is completely isolated from society. He can often be found drinking alcohol and taking drugs at home or heavily drinking at the local pub. He is struggling to cope and these scenes throughout are interrupted by haunting dream sequences which reinforce the horror of his past.
The story leaves details out and maintains a level of ambiguity surrounding the tragic events of Kris’ past, which adds an air of mystery and envelops the narrative in a heartbreaking fashion. It is unclear what is going on for some of the beginning of the short, yet Tee Morris’ brilliant performance as Kris enables the viewer to feel the weight of the pain and the grief that he is experiencing. The most memorable scene occurs between Kris and the mother of his daughter Sarah, played by Caroline Frewin, as in only a short meeting they have a heartbreaking conversation about their loss.
The score is evocative of Kris and his situation. When paired with the hallucinatory dream sequences which occur throughout the film, the melancholy music created by #KaiEngel is powerfully moving. The music mirrors Kris’ disorientated state and his disillusionment with his life after the tragedy. It is as if the score takes on a life of its own and it is one of the best aspects of the film.
Climbing Trees is powerful in its depiction of a grief-stricken father and the ending is particularly striking. However, the pacing begins to feel repetitive and slow after the film’s lengthy running time for a short film. It takes a while to reach the climax of the narrative and there are multiple dream sequences cutting in and out of the narrative which appear more frequently than they could have been. Overall, Climbing Trees is a hard watch, but it is one which is worth your time.
Watch the official movie trailer for Climbing Trees below.