Directed by: Kyle & Liam Bashford
Written by: Natasha Rose Mills
Starring: Natasha Rose Mills, Tom Benedict Knight, Jill Halfpenny
Although there is only one face in the short film Colourblind, there are many layers to the story. Amber (Natasha Rose Mills) is a young girl who sees the best in people, yet she has chosen a brute, Theo (Tom Benedict Knight), for a boyfriend. Colourblind is a story about domestic abuse and the tragic circumstances that come about when one confronts it. Amber tries to leave Theo, listening to the advice of her mother (Jill Halfpenny), but this leads to an unexpected situation.
Mills writes beautifully, and the narrative is clearly personal. She does not waste a line, as the audience learns about her and Theo very quickly and intimately through the spoken dialogue which continues throughout the film, operating as a voice over as we follow Amber as she walks through her home and memories. This narration was a brilliant idea, but perhaps it is difficult when watching to not get distracted by the acting of Mills, who shines in her role. To be the only one on screen and really make an impact on the viewer shows that Mills is very multifaceted in her talents.
This was done particularly well when the laughter of the girls’ conversation rolled comfortably into the laughter of the bar. The soft piano in the background was not too loud, but present enough to create a solemn mood for Amber’s strife. I really enjoyed the editing, and it seemed like it was in one long take, which appears to be a popular move in filmmaking today (think Iñárritu’s Birdman and Mendes’ 1917).
The Bashford Brothers have been making shorts for over a decade now, and Colourblind really shows their relationship with film. They give it the film space and time, understanding the sensitive subject matter. The brothers are precise and delicate with their direction, each turn, look and movement by Amber and the camera are patient, giving us viewers time to take in such an unwanted reality for Amber. We do not know Amber, yet we all feel for her – she is a victim of domestic abuse, which is unacceptable in every way. We are not able to help her, and she cannot hear us when we shout at the screen for her to leave Theo and his twisted behaviour. Amber is colour-blind, and unfortunately, Theo’s red flags just look like regular flags to her.