Final Shot short film review

★★★

Directed by: #MichaelKeane

Written by: #MichaelKeane

Starring: #MaryMcMorrow, #PhilipOCallaghan

Film Review by: Christopher Hart




When dealing with the subject of school shootings, one must exercise prudence in their work. Dark and twisted matters like these are very curious, and it is why people become invested in telling and hearing such stories like the Columbine High School Massacre. However, it is not simply a story; it is a true story, and a wicked one at that. Writer and director Michael Keane attempts to recreate this school shooting in his short film Final Shot. This seen from the perspective of a teacher and her students, leaving the shooter a shadow-like blur in the chaos. The plot is fairly simple, as it follows the teacher (Mary McMorrow) and her students as they try and escape a school shooter (Philip O'Callaghan) from a claustrophobic classroom. Keane has achieved what he has set out to do; he has shown visually (there are no lines of dialogue in this short) the fear and panic of a monstrous crime.

Keane’s style is well-executed, the dark plot reflected in its intimidating score and ominous colour pallet, sucking the youthful joy from this world. Final Shot is fast-paced, and the editing works well for such a panic-stricken situation. However, the information given to us on mass shootings seems slightly unnecessary, and the editing is rushed on this, leaving little time for the viewer to read all the paragraphs. Nevertheless, the audience will forget about this as it is thrust into the suspense, with the piercing school alarm being sounded. The sound effects in this short are well-placed and very convincing; the gunshots are forceful, and what is a very subtle but effective move by Keane is the distortion of the picture as the windows are shot.

While the film required no dialogue, the credibility relies heavily on facial expressions to convey the panic of the story. This was done superbly by Mary McMorrow, but one cannot help but notice the smiles on the boys’ faces as they flee from the building. Understanding that they are not professional by any means, perhaps a sense of sincerity with the subject matter needed to be employed. Philip O’Callaghan’s shooter was threatening with his hollow gaze, conveying villainy with confidence. Issues aside, it is clear that Keane has a sense of direction and understands the content and gravity of violence. The message of Final Shot is unambiguous – mass shootings are frightening experiences, and Keane extends his sympathies to all those who have been unfortunate enough to be a victim of one.