Family short film review

★★★★

Directed by: #DavidBradburn

Written by: #DavidBradburn

Starring: #JahredKing, #MichaelMaley, #MichaelPrado, #JasonErikZacek

Film Review by: Darren Tilby



In a rundown neighbourhood, where discarded toys litter the streets; remnants of lost childhoods; of broken dreams, Charlie (Jahred King) walks home from class. Despite his mind-your-own-business attitude, he’s set upon by two thugs, Rob (Jason Erik Zacek) and Miguel (Michael Prado). Unable to flee, there’s a struggle, one which Charlie cannot win. Fortunately, his friend Mark (Michael Maley) is close by to lend a hand.


Here, as its title suggests, Writer/Director David Bradburn explores ‘family’, and all possible meanings of the word. And, for a 3-minute long short film, it certainly crams in a lot. So much so, you’d be forgiven for thinking this would feel a little crowded; a little dense, even. But Bradburn is clever. Instead of trying to get his message across by filling the movie with overly sentimental and superfluous dialogue, he instead utilises understatement; relying on the raw talent of his actors and Joel McGinty’s (cinematographer) visual symbolism.


Family is a well-structured piece of filmmaking which holds a surprising, and considerable, poignancy. The sound design is superb, and the acting is solid - King and Marley are a tremendous on-screen presence together. But, for me at least, it’s the visuals; the imagery that truly sells this as the affecting, and somewhat haunting, experience it is. The rejected and forgotten playthings – beautifully framed and captured by McGinty – mirror the abandoned hopes and dreams of the characters which inhabit its world. But they also serve as a reflection for the viewer’s own lost childhood, innocence and friendships.


However, some friendships do endure, and some friends have been through thick and thin together, this is precisely the kind of relationship Charlie and Mark have. A friendship forged by hardships and sacrifice. And while they may not be brothers by blood, they are in every other sense of the word. It’s a tricky connection to nail down, full of intricacies; nevertheless, their on-screen chemistry is vital to the movie—it’s what makes it work. And, thankfully, it’s brilliantly realised.


Family may only be 3-minutes in length, but it’s concise, articulate and superbly well-put-together. There’s more for the viewer to digest here than in other films many more times its length, and it continues to grow on me more each time I rewatch it—and you really should!