Written and Directed by Pishdaad Modaressi Chahardehi
Starring Charlie Cashin, Michael Krause, Anne Elliott, Dan Perry, Becky Farrall, Dimitris Konstantinou-Hautecoeur
Short Film Review by George Nash
Gritty and violent, Writer/Director Pishdaad Modaressi Chahardehi leaves very little to the imagination with No Apologies – a blood-soaked, brilliantly shot revenge thriller with shades of the Neo-Western.
After paying the price for trying to flee his livelihood as a criminal-for-hire when a job goes wrong, Vincent (Charlie Cashin) sets out on the road to revenge by punishing the men responsible.
Both literally and thematically, No Apologies is a dark film. Right from the opening shot – one of overcast skies under which two men face-off either side of a leafless tree – there is a brooding darkness and overbearing sense of death that engulfs the piece instantaneously. One of the men has his finger on the trigger of a gun and blood on his mind. Vincent is seeking something, which initially presents itself as revenge, but by the end of the film’s 20-minute run time, might just be something substantially more ambiguous.
Chahardehi’s story is a conventional one, but told in an unconventional way. He adopts a two-pronged narrative structure; splicing together a more linear present day account with episodic flashbacks, meaning Vincent’s motives – and any empathy towards him - are neatly kept from us until mid-way through. Such an approach paves the way for an impressive juxtaposition in lighting and character that distinguishes the two timelines, as our protagonist descends from softly spoken family man into a merciless agent of death clad in all black. Furthermore, Chahardehi’s astute camerawork compliments this brilliantly by combining shots of intimate sensitivity with those of unflinching rawness and explicit violence. Occasionally tapping on the doors of horror, No Apologies is a redemption story in which very little redemption is to be found.
There is a true passion for genre here, and it’s quite clear to see where Chahardehi - and his team’s - influences lie. This is someone who, at one point, probably had the Taken speech as his voicemail recording; someone who can appreciate a good ol’ gun-slinging western or two; and there’s certainly a dusting of Tarantino in there somewhere too. But No Apologies’ strength also lies in its protagonist’s character development. Perhaps somewhat inevitably, Chahardehi’s part players – the intimidating Mason (played with ice-cold menace by Michael Krause) and Vincent’s wife (Anne Elliott) – are slightly underdeveloped; however, the same cannot be said for our protagonist, whose depiction reaches remarkable depths given the film’s short run time. Vincent is conflicted and assured; he’s victim and villain, and, at times when the script occasionally falls flat, Cashin’s deft ability to convey such character complexity through a single glance is greatly commendable.
Yes, No Apologies might walk a path well-trodden, but - one overly choreographed fight sequence aside - Chahardehi punctuates this more generic revenge thriller with moments of calculated and stylistic prowess. Beneath the brilliantly done blood and gore, it is evident there is real filmmaking heart at play; making for a thoroughly impressive and comprehensive short. No apologies required indeed.