Directed by: #AnthonyGreyley
Written by: #HarrisonWall
Dubs marks the directorial debut of Anthony Greyley, and what an impressive first outing it proves to be. The 35-minute short showcases excellent low-budget filmmaking through some gorgeous visuals and perfectly executed special effects. Throw in an engrossing sci-fi concept and top-notch performances, and you have a recipe for a thoroughly enjoyable short film.
The plot focuses on the relationship between Ollie (Darko Baric) and Justin (Thomas Flynn). The couple decides to enrol in the ‘dubbing’ programme, in which a clone of Justin will be produced for them to take care of for four weeks. While initially excited at the prospect, Ollie soon becomes uncomfortable with Justin’s copy, Kid (also Flynn), which spells trouble for the relationship and leads to some life-changing revelations.
The film follows a non-linear narrative that includes flashbacks to a pre-Kid time in the couple’s relationship. Not only does this structure help steady the pacing of Dubs, but it also allows for subtle character development by comparing the couple before and after Justin’s dubbing. Satisfyingly, all these flashback scenes serve a greater purpose in the overall narrative and lead to some emotional call-backs during the film’s climax.
Dubs boasts impressive visuals throughout, with warm lighting and intimate camerawork giving the film a distinct style. The most striking visuals are those in Ollie’s ominous game room, in which he appears to be steeped in a void of nothingness with only a luminous board for company. Cinematographer Jack Harrison composes shots that help to inform the emotional quality of several scenes through the transition between warm and cold lighting. What’s more, the film has some extremely impressive visual effects for its budget, with Kid appearing alongside Justin seamlessly through a mixture of clever camerawork and digital trickery.
For all its impressive visuals though, Dubs simply would not work were it not for the two excellent lead performances. Right from the first scene, Baric and Flynn appear to be so natural in front of the camera and share a chemistry that is vital to selling their on-screen relationship. There’s never a moment where you doubt that you’re watching real people, which goes lengths to getting you fully invested in their story.
However, the lead performances are made all the more astonishing considering that all of the dialogue is improvised. The success garnered from this creative process is a testament to the excellent editing job done in post-production as well as the improvisation capabilities displayed by the actors. It’s a bold production choice that deserves to be praised, especially considering how meticulously planned out the final film appears to be.
The only area in which Dubs falters is with the lack of depth in its story. Ollie is very much the heart and soul of the film, and while his journey raises questions regarding finding your place in the world and struggling with your identity, these issues are only explored at the surface level. The case is the same for the nagging ethical questions surrounding ‘dubbing’, which are only briefly raised without too much exploration, despite it being one of the more interesting aspects of the film.
With Dubs, Anthony Greyley has laid down an impressive first mark in his directorial career, as the film’s distinct visual style and flawless special effects show just how effective he can be on a tight budget. Despite the lack of exploration into some of it’s more interesting themes, the frankly excellent performances and clean, purposeful visuals mean that the short is an engaging and entertaining watch.