Directed by: #DebanjhanMaji
If you get worried about getting Ubers, maybe sit this one out. Maji’s short film Midnight Mirror prays on legitimate contemporary fears surrounding taxis and ride sharing apps, particularly the fears women face when riding alone. Trina Saha plays a young actress, on her way home from a big corporate party. She takes a cab on her own, despite her evident fear (exposition that is neatly established by her need to stay on the phone with her mother during the duration of the journey), but when her phone dies and a mysterious second passenger enters the car, her paranoia begins to sink in.
It is difficult to say much about the plot of Midnight Mirror beyond this point without delving into spoiler territory, but the film manages to keep you second guessing with plenty of setups, misdirects and tension. Banerjee plays the mysterious and unsettling second passenger with a sense of comedy, helped by his ridiculous costume, that is so at odds with the otherwise serious and sinister tone of the film, that it creates a perfectly unnerving individual, quite different to one’s typical expectations of an apparently ‘creepy’ character. Trina Saha portrays a much more typical victim archetype, but she does a decent job with a relatively basic character.
Given that the majority of the #shortfilm is set within a car, it manages to achieve some pretty interesting camera angles, creating a sense of dynamism that is crucial to giving the film its life and edge. It must be said that the lighting isn’t always great but the film is set at night and, hey, its hard to film in the dark, I guess. The editing is serviceable but there is a tendency to linger slightly too long on some shots, obviously an attempt to build tension (or perhaps just make the most of the footage they have) but instead it just interrupts the natural flow of the scenes, particularly the performances. As for sound design, there’s a pretty impressive soundscape, which may not be subtle, but the slightly heightened background noises add to the film’s sense of unease and paranoia; we see the ways in which our protagonist is wary of every small sound and movement as a result of her fear of travel.
It’s a pretty decent film – still no idea what the title means though…