Directed by Eleanna Santorinaiou Starring Aaron Ishmael, Judith Haley, Ezekiel David Peat Short Film Review by Owen Herman
Neighbourhood is a short film that explores the relationship between three people, living in the same small neighbourhood, and how that relationship changes after a small time drug deal goes wrong.
Santorinaiou has chosen to go very small and intimate, and it works. The characters in Neighbourhood, a nosey but well-meaning old woman, a cocky unsociable youth and a mischievous young boy, feel real and natural. The circumstances involving the botched drug deal do test belief but the characters act convincingly enough to carry it off. Suspense of disbelief aside, the story still didn’t quite grip me and, beyond their realistic appearance and reasonably realistic actions, I just didn’t feel engaged by the characters enough to care about them. They felt real but were simply not interesting enough. The performances in Neighbourhood are solid; youngster Ezekiel David Peat is impressive for such a young performer. Santorinaiou has to be given credit as casting and directing a child actor is often laden with difficulty.
The cinematography gets all the basics done well, the relationships and power dynamics between characters is clearly filmed, but the final shot, showing the comparatively huge size of the city, is outstanding and it really allowed the intimacy of the small neighbourhood to shine. There is good work with the editing as well, calm and tension are both contrasted well through the number and style of cuts.
There is obvious filmmaking talent behind Neighbourhood but the story and its inhabitants were not as strong as they could have been. The escalation of problems that occurs just felt too much, especially when the short film focused so much on the more realistic nature of life in a supposedly ordinary neighbourhood.