Written & Directed by: #AkshayPadmanaba
Two men fight over a woman; one a murder mystery writer, the other a vengeful husband.
Akshay Padmanaba’s debut short film GRAU, which marks the launch of 16mm Productions, is a twisted drama featuring a killer story and a bloody climax. Opening with a quote from Martin Scorsese — “Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out” — it’s clear there’s some inspiration from the master filmmakers’ work. Given that this is a debut for the team involved, I won’t place too much focus on the performances, which, whilst pretty amateur and not so realistic, are adequate. I’d like to have seen the actors spend more time digging into their characters, and perhaps understand the script to a degree that allows their line delivery to be more believable, but alas.
In terms of the quality in production, GRAU is a fantastic, well-made film. The cinematography by Isshaan Murali and Sam Augustine is pretty smart. Some interesting shot choices scattered in, with nice colour grading. Moving from visual to audio, the sound recording is also surprisingly good. Bar a few sharp cuts and edits, the auditory environment is supportive of the imagery. The little technical details really do add to a film, so it’s always good to see upcoming filmmakers with an eye (and ear) for these.
Musically a bit dry, using library tracks with some awkward drop-ins, GRAU doesn’t invest in the way I’d hope. But, as with most debuts, these are essentially a training ground for entering the industry. The first step of the climb into the world of cinema, so to speak. Something else I usually don’t touch upon but should; the font choice at the beginning and end of the film can give off a good impression, so to me, it’s equally as important as anything else in a film. It should act as an extension of the story, and in choosing a Tarantino-esque font style, I think GRAU succeeded.
GRAU is a solid debut. Aside from the acting aforementioned, this is a pretty well-rounded, and well-constructed short.