Downfalling Short Film Review

★★

Directed by #PeterPalma

Written by #PeterPalma

Starring: #TommyBeswick #AimieGillan

Film Review by Matthew Sawyer

Downfalling shows us a brief glimpse of a young man's life as he decides whether or not to take his own life. The man in question, played by Tommy Beswick, has just broken up with his girlfriend. He rejects advances made by his female friend, played by Aimie Gillan, as he struggles with his emotions.

It’s very clear from the opening few seconds that this film was made on a very small budget. It’s clearly been filmed on a DSLR or phone. This isn’t always a bad thing; look at what Steven Soderbergh was able to achieve with Unsane. Although he had the support of a talented and experienced crew, he proved that you don’t need a fantastic camera to tell an interesting story. Unfortunately, the camera work in this film is not so good. It’s very shaky and it can be distracting in places.


The premise and script for this film is very basic. In one respect it’s great to see young filmmakers tackling and exploring issues such as men's mental health and sucide; sharing links on the films YouTube page to websites such as the Samaritans and child line is a very nice touch. However, it’s never told clearly that our protagonist is suicidal. We see him self-harm by brushing his teeth vigorously, though the colour of the fake blood was a little off, and he focuses for a while on a dead bird. However, we never really connect with the character’s emotions or understand his intentions.


Despite these flaws the director, Peter Palma, does show a lot of creativity and flair when it comes to filmmaking. He knows where to put the camera and he uses interesting angles to tell the story. There are some nice shots in this film, despite the shaky camera. In particular, the shots of the bridge at the end are very good, especially when he cuts to an extreme wide. The emotion of the film comes across somewhat with the voiceover from the lead character. It would have been good to see more of that. Unfortunately, when we actually see the characters talk, the words we hear don’t always match with the characters’ mouths. That is the main thing that took me out of the film. I’d highly recommend that Palma finds a more creative solution to this problem if he is working with a small budget.


They’re a lot of positives to take away from this short. The music from Sam Rigby is very good, it’s only a basic piano score but it compliments the film perfectly. Also, the acting from Tommy Beswick and Aimie Gillan shows a lot of promise. Neither is given a lot to do but they both do well.


I hope that Palma will take what he has learnt from this experience forward and continue to experiment with filmmaking. His interest in raising important issues through film is admirable and he demonstrates the creativity needed to become a good director. I look forward to seeing how this young man develops his skills and finds new, imaginative ways to tackle important issues in his future films.


#MatthewSawyer