McKinley short film review


★★★★

Directed by: #BenBloore

Written by: #BenFowkes

Starring: #MarkTunstall, #SteveWood, #TinaHarris

Short Film Review by: #AmberJackson

McKinley Movie Review


McKinley short movie poster

Detailed, dramatic and devastating, McKinley is reminiscent of an ITV thriller, with a successful cocktail of suspense, mystery, specific direction and subtle acting skills, all making it a release worth watching.


The narrative opens on a broken family; a mother/son duo residing in fear over the man of the house and the abuse that he imparts upon them. Fast forward a minute or so and an entirely unpredictable tragedy strikes, inviting police scrutiny. Here enters Detective McKinley, who is seemingly impressive and attentive at his profession, but has a troubled past that infringes upon the narrative, leaving viewers craving more information, whilst being starved of the truth.


Ben Bloore’s production allows the entire tone of the piece to feel like the introduction to a successful feature length, a dramatic snapshot of quick escalation with sharp cinematography. Each shot has been expertly edited together by Nick Archer in rapid succession, incorporating close-ups with blinking flashbacks so that the audience is provided with insight into the backstory of the detective. Set detail is also very impressive, yet again the location looking and feeling like that of a well-received drama. Production designer Sophie Black uses the nice house with a beautiful view and scenes with an abundance of woodland to create a chilling atmosphere so that, when the story delves deeper, audiences are completely engrossed.


Narratively, the #shortfilm completely engages and captivates its viewers with dramatic irony and uncertainty. Each character’s story arc is woven together, ending through the eyes of the detective and how his own background ties into the initial plot. The complexity of this results in a lot of unsaid dialogue, which proves to be entirely effective as nothing is over-explained, or pointlessly included.


The subtlety of each actor and their mannerisms provides further insight into each character from the offset. Mother and son have a seemingly close relationship that is untimely interrupted by their joint fear of Dad, Craig Fisher, arriving home. Steve Wood was instantly repellent as Craig, balanced by Tina Harris’ emotiveness to illustrate a hopeless Emma, broken and battered by torment. Mark Tunstall, too, creates a complicated and character for the misunderstood detective that sparks copious amounts of sympathy with his external frustration and his concealed vulnerability.


My only reservation with this short is that it would have been nice to see more diversity on screen. I cannot shake the feeling that this film is missing a trick here and will potentially fail to resonate with wider audiences.


McKinley ultimately proved to be a very interesting snapshot. It would be brilliant as a feature length film, as there is great potential for each character to be extended and developed. Audiences would benefit from seeing a greater story arc, from the Fisher family and Detective McKinley, and the film would surely be successful because of this.


This short film is one to watch out for and it is an exciting prospect to see where it will be taken in the future.