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Lost & Hound: Short Film Review


Directed by: #BenJaySmith

Written by: #BenJaySmith


Picturesque scene of nature with rolling hills and glorious green fields; the titles for the film on show reveal the title to be: Lost & Hound
Opening shot from Lost & Hound

Lost & Hound, directed by Ben Jay Smith, is a flawed yet poignant, and emotionally impactful, short film, centred around the undeniable bond between people and dogs. The emotional core of the film is certainly derived from this familiar, nigh-on universal relationship, specifically between Andy (played by Steve Crawshaw) and Freddy (played by a suitably adorable spaniel of the same name). With Crenshaw’s northern twang and the aforementioned relationship at its centre, it would be easy to draw comparisons with the UK’s most famous human-canine duo: Wallace and Gromit. Both levity and depth are clear and present in that relationship from the pair's very first cinematic outing - the short film A Grand Day Out. It’s subjective of course, but there are some highly effective emotive techniques used throughout that film - for example, placing the characters in a potentially dangerous situation, which binds them together emotionally and, thus, solidifies their relationship for the audience.

Lost & Hound instead attempts to convince us that Andy and Freddy’s relationship has depth and emotional resonance through a montage driven depiction of their steadily growing rapport. After Andy discovers Freddy, a lost dog who happens to find his way to the elderly man’s doorstep, there is an unsuccessful attempt to engage the services of the local police force in a matter that they ultimately deem unworthy of their time. As a result of this, the two are seemingly stuck together, and they begin to bond, jauntily playing and having fun, presented to us in the form of montage (as mentioned). At one point Andy admits “I haven’t felt this young in years,” an oddly pronounced indicator of the way in which he feels but telling nonetheless, and certainly enough to highlight the importance of this newfound relationship for the human protagonist.

Just as the impact of the relationship can be felt by the audience, there is a twist that one would presume was conceived to be gut-wrenching, accompanied by a jarringly dark and oppressive soundtrack. It feels obvious and, to some, may even border on insensitivity, which is a shame because, up until that point, the film conveys emotional depth whilst still feeling somewhat light-hearted and fun. Boldly, some extremely heavy subject matter is introduced at the film's close, which arguably opens the film up to greater scrutiny as it becomes clear that Smith regards his film as a serious piece of art - a high standard against which it can’t quite compare. Despite this, there is enough of interest here to recommend a viewing - particularly the heart-warming character work present in the early section of the film.



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