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Mask No Fear Short Film Review

★★★

Directed by: #CraigFoggo



 

Mask No Fear is a short film and prequel to the Abandon Fear franchise. This film is set within a warzone and shows a young character named Janus, and the military lifestyle he has adopted from his father’s influence. There is a deep-rooted sadness within Janus which is hidden under this façade of courageousness and masculine energy. Janus is a character who’s had to overcome fear within his life and put aside his own feelings for the good of others. With the passing of his father, Janus has had take care of his brother and ultimately leave his childhood behind, grow up fast and become an adult. This action filled short, is packed with both physical and mental pain for our protagonists. It would be great to uncover all the hidden emotions within this short and for this to be developed into a feature length film.


Actor Matthew Spurgeon who portrays Janus is quite fitting to the role. His performance was compelling and natural, however, not all the performances within this short were entirely persuasive. This is undoubtedly the case for Janus’ father, the conversations between him and his sons were extremely forced and distant. Many of the male characters within this short film needed to supress any form of warm emotion to convey this masculine persona. However, you can still add anger, sincerity, or passion to dialogue to express the seriousness of a situation, this tended to be lacking and so was difficult to picture him as a father who was close to his children. If the child didn’t have the name ‘Janus’ written on his t-shirt, I would have found it hard to recognise them as a father and son connection. Within the action genre, there is often this exhilaration and intensity, so it is important to have this reflected within the acting style and not just within the ambience of the film.


The location scouted was perfect, the gloominess to the scenery and vast spaces where you can see rolling hills spread across the background gave this piece that isolated feel. This strengthened the characters need to fend for themselves and that all they have is each other. Not only that, but the military huts were a great find and threw the audience in the heart of the action. Location and scenery can really enhance a film and allows for some beautiful cinematic shots so this was a great aspect within this short.


Mask No Fear followed a non-linear approach to the narration, which is excellent and set this short film apart. However, it needs to be clear when using this approach that the story flows well and that the audience can understand where they are in the characters journey. There were some occasions where this was not clear, it was only as the story developed you could understand previous scenes and the direction of the narration.

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