Directed by Layke Anderson Starring Joanna Scanlon & Ricky Nixon, Short Film Review by Monica Jowett
Dylan’s Room is a stunning short film about the relationship between mother and son. Written and directed by Layke Anderson, the gorgeous cinematography and beautiful dialogue make this a film you can watch over and over and continue to discover new enjoyment.
The story of Dylan's Room follows a mother Penny (Joanna Scanlon) coping with the loss of her son. In his deserted room, she finds solace looking through his drawers, finding old toys, and a stash of weed. Without even saying the words, we know she has suffered an enormous loss in her life. Shots of the son’s belongings and even Penny picking up her son’s old teddy bear, perfectly encapsulate the hurt she is feeling.
Scanlon’s performance in this short film is wonderful to watch. Her quiet actions, the way she moves and the closeness she has with her son make you instantly connect with her. When she rolls a joint and lights up, it is easy to see a fun side in her too. When she imagines her son Dylan (Ricky Nixon) lying next to her on the bed and talking with him as though he was there, you can see a mother who doesn’t want to let go. Nixon’s performance is fantastic too, and through the easy dialogue and comfortable conversation, it isn’t hard to picture the two as a close knit mother and son duo.
Along with the superb performances from Scanlon and Nixon, the cinematography in Dylan’s Room stands out. A combination of wide shots and close ups capture the stillness of the room, left in peace since the loss of Dylan and it is easy to get the sense that someone lived in the room. Anderson really makes use of the space, and every surface and wall is covered in things that would belong to a young man. As shots linger on the items left in his room or the posters, the camera pulls focus onto certain objects, and the light highlights the dust above and the dirty marks.
The careful editing of cutting between close up of things in the room, to wider shots, to close ups of Penny and Dylan on the bed talking feel natural and continues to build on the story, characters and particularly the relationship between the mother and son.
Throughout the twenty minutes, Dylan’s Room keeps you wanting more. You want to see more of the relationship of mother and son, the performances from Scanlon and Nixon and the stunning cinematography. Understated and moving, this is a drama that will stay with you.