Directed by Mark J. Blackman
Starring Kerry Bennett, Joe Absolom
Short Film Review by Lorenzo Lombardi
Putting a modern spin on a classic fable is a difficult task, but when done with a well-thought approach, it is an undeniably unique treat. Neon does just that in an admirably stylish and gripping way, making it an inventive fantasy/romance.
Neon follows an office worker named Mary (Kerry Bennett) after she suddenly receives a phone call from her boyfriend Elias (Joe Absolom) about splitting up. He explains that this is because of the lengths he has to go for his occupation of being a ‘matchmaker’.
From there, the film’s focus shifts between Elias’ duties and the night the couple first met. The conversation they have on the phone sets the foundation for a compelling narrative-fuelled structure. Heartbreaking dialogue acts as a great contrast to Elias’ brooding but vulnerable character, the latter characteristic also applying to Mary as the possibility of an end to the relationship is hard to bear. This is made possible by both leads’ sheer passionate performances.
Cinematography and lighting also stand out too. Varying angles highlight the increase of tension throughout the film, with intimate ones being used in more emotional scenes. Colours are used in expressionistic fashion, giving the film a viscerally artistic edge. It certainly lives up to its title in that regard, displaying vivid and beautiful shades of blue and sometimes red. Neon’s Visual flair is inexplicable.
At first a straight thriller, the plot point that brings in the fantastical elements of the film is a very surprising and bold move in the story that will stay with the viewer long after the credits roll. Even after the reveal, the way this film continues to handle mythological tropes feels fresh and unique. The ending is satisfying too, bringing the story to a literal and figurative close after a moving finale that tests our empathy the audience’s empathy with the characters.
Director Mark J. Blackman’s short is imaginative and emotionally engrossing. Check this one out if you are in the mood for energetic emotion and fantastical thrills.