Directed by: #EdwardPalmer
Written by: Edward Palmer
Having delivered the charged indie thriller Hippopotamus, filmmaker Edward Palmer opts for a harrowing and equally atmospheric short film Nightingale. A story of parenthood laced with tragedy that captures the emotional bludgeoning that comes with the role, with nightmarish characterisation.
Stuart Mortimer and Sophie Hopkins play the aforementioned parents who are glimpsed through numerous scenes dealing with a newborn baby. It becomes distinctly clear that this household has experienced an acute trauma that suffocates the characters within. Through an emotive snapshot of sequences the audience is able to piece together a distressing series of events that explore the bottomless depths of anguish and grief.
The first noticeable aspect of Edward Palmer's #shortfilm Nightingale is the tone. The aesthetic has a relentless darkness to it that is essential in relating the couple's trauma to the viewer. This is then enhanced by the primal emotion that grips the audience when we see the visceral fallout of the narrative through physical interaction. It is an intelligent piece that knows how to set a devastating mood quickly without overburdening it with exposition.
Crosscutting and structure were two key elements that Palmer wanted to toy with during Nightingale and the result is mesmerising and enthralling. Enough of the narrative is delivered without resorting to spoon feeding the viewer and many will emerge with differing notions on the nature of the events which unfold. The only conclusive element is that Palmer wants his audience to experience a sense of gut wrenching that can only be ascertained through the intensity of parental bonds.
Sophie Hopkins turns in a phenomenal portrayal of the grief stricken mother and her most heartbreaking scene on a floor will linger with even the most cold hearted viewer. Stuart Mortimer is a powerhouse of intensity. Apparently fuelled by T. S. Elliott's The Wasteland, it's a performance rooted in the darkness. Throughout the short film we witness a character on the edge of a serious reaction, one that is infused with humanistic frailty and weakness.
There are plenty of #filmmakers who have opted to tell stories of parenthood and the harshest aspects of it. This short film lingers for capturing the frenetic chaos which comes with the territory through the expert #filmmaking and then pervading it with a tormented central relationship, eschewing any linear structure or predictability along the way for something more emotive, dramatic, and remarkable.