Written and directed by #AntonKudrov
“To be a happy man, find yourself a woman who helps you with the chores, is a good cook, that you can trust, and enjoys making love to you. And then, most importantly, never let those four women meet.”
Wealthy young bachelor Tommy van Doren has invited four women to his grandiose mansion for dinner. Something is amiss when that very evening he is found dead. His cause of death appears to have been immediate and there are no visible wounds. Written and directed by Anton Kudrov, Lybeck follows the eponymous private investigator who is hired to take on the mysterious case.
The short film opens with Lybeck, played by Adam Butler, arriving at the late Mr van Doren’s premises. He is greeted by the housekeeper who recounts the evening’s events. Mr van Doren invited all four women to dinner, and the housekeeper stayed away until she heard a piercing scream. The women are awaiting questioning as they are all now suspects in his murder. Lybeck instructs the four women to empty their belongings out onto the table, as he discovers that each has a possible murder weapon and a potential motive hiding in plain sight. The suspects lay out their alibis to Lybeck one by one, yet something about the case feels off.
The stylish production design and slick cinematography reinforce the decadent feel established by the grand setting of the mansion. The music adds an exciting element of shock and horror through the use of striking piano chords. The structure of the short film is reminiscent of the classic murder mystery genre, as flashbacks are used effectively throughout to allow Kudrov to withhold information from the viewer. The camerawork cleverly aids the storytelling through the use of long takes and close ups. The otherwise familiar plotting feels elevated by the way in which the camera uncovers the clues slowly and assuredly, as the viewer tries to decipher what is going on along with Lybeck. The camerawork doesn’t overwhelm, but rather succeeds at quietly informing and hinting at different clues along the way.
Lybeck succeeds in capturing a story from an overly familiar genre in an intriguing way. The final twist is a satisfying ending, which manages to stick to conventions of the genre while not leading to too obvious a conclusion.