Directed by Marcus Flemmings
Starring Guy Faulkner, Shuna Iljima, Raymi Renee & Nick Berger
Short film review by Chris Olson
This ethereal, abstract short film, written and directed by Marcus Flemmings, revels in its obscurity whilst delivering a truly engaging drama about a man who seeks revenge for the killing of his love against a sadistic ne’erdowell.
The titular character is played by Guy Faulkner, who we are introduced to lighting up a cigarette on a rooftop in the darkness. This picturesque contrast of bright flame and sheer darkness is the perfect metaphor for King’s overall atmosphere, where Flemmings’ film pits love against hate, innocence against jealousy. There is an attention to the filmmaking here that should not go unnoticed, with focus slipping in and out of scenes as the characters face off with each other. A complex barrage of slippery sequences and quick editing compliment the poetic nature of the script, which seems fluid and compelling.
As a short film of just knocking on 8 minutes, King manages to inconspicuously dip its toe into several movie genres, including Gangster territory, with one particularly great scene between Faulkner and Raymi Renee at a dining table which looks like it was lifted straight out of a Godfather film! The crime themes are mixed with romance, thriller and drama, all with a sumptuous backdrop of classical music, creating an elaborate buffet of spectacle, like the most delicious film feast.
On the critical side, it could be argued that King bombards the viewer with too much spectacle, there is a chaotic nature to the narrative which some may find difficult to penetrate. That being said, I think Flemmings attempts to purposely deliver a maelstrom of conflict and in doing so chooses a rapid pace to reflect the nature of the events taking place. Decisions are at the heart of this piece, and the human reactions behind them which are shaped ultimately by exterior influences. This lack of control is then experienced by the viewer who is being swept away without much chance to take stock of their perspective.
The performances are very grounded and effective. At first it seemed a little hackneyed having the prose being delivered through overvoice, and then the thespian style dialogue of the scenes was a little dangerous, but this actually is pulled off really well. It has a timeless feel, which blends nicely with the urban landscapes and violence which give it a more modern twist. Renee is marvellous as the twisted villain, coming off like something between a Bond villain and a Corleone.
There is a boldness to King which was quite refreshing. It unashamedly pirouettes through a catalogue of cinematic devices and artistic flair which ultimately ends up leaving a mesmeric spectacle on screen.