Directed by Patrick Ireland
Starring Eddie Chamberlin, Christopher Laws, Scarlett Marshall, Harrison Osterfield, Olivia Lahaye, Holly Boyden, Roisin Monaghan and Louise Devlin
Short Film Review by Michael Fiott
One in a Million is a dark and haunting short film produced by The London Film School that follows the young character of Kevin (Eddie Chamberlin), an autistic orphan who in many ways struggles to fit into his surroundings. This leads him into many situations in which he is taken advantage of and is made to feel different from his peers, he struggles through all of this whilst hanging onto his one dream of winning the lottery and becoming a millionaire to escape.
The first thing that is evident from the very beginning of this short is how well it is shot, it has a dark and dreary tone that is multiplied by its use of black and white throughout, which reminded me of the visual aesthetic of 1977’s Eraserhead by David Lynch, (although this film is decidedly less strange). It uses many gorgeous establishing shots of England’s South End that remain completely still and achieve a feeling of melancholy by the lack of busyness, these shots show us that on these streets and piers there is nobody going about their daily business which results in a very quiet and subtly haunting feeling for the audience, which I can only assume was a deliberate and smart choice by director Patrick Ireland as he tries to subconsciously inform us about the loneliness that Kevin experiences on a day to day basis.
To compliment this bleak tone, Ireland also uses eerie, string-based classical music composed by Sam Wise, the music is audible in the film throughout Kevin’s most vulnerable and personally important moments and assists us in our understanding of him. The most in depth character in the film is of course its protagonist, he has many different elements to him such as his social awkwardness, his endearing want for attention from the opposite sex and his belief in heaven that remains his only hope of feeling connected to his deceased mother.
However, many of the other characters do not have enough time to be truly fleshed out and certain inconsistencies begin to rise with them, most notably in that of Charly portrayed by Scarlett Marshall. Who at one moment seems to be rather condescending when offering Kevin the opportunity to go on a date with her and at the next seems to almost miraculously fall in love with him after a few short hours. Had the other characters been given short and subtle backgrounds to them like that of Kevin, these small issues would have been able to be worked out and would have resulted in the audience having a clearer understanding of why they treat him the way they do.
That being said, these young actors all gave performances to the best of their ability, Eddie Chamberlin was believable as the awkward teen and proved to be a stand out performer managing to create a genuine feel of unease in scenes that do at times truly inflame our human sense of empathy. This is doubled by Christopher Laws' performance as the psychotic Leo, whose deep voice and unwavering stare fills us with anger at the mere sight of him knowing what he is capable of.
Overall this film is an exciting effort from Patrick Ireland who’s eye for aesthetic is one to look out for.