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Ophelia Short Film Review

★★★★ Stars

Directed by: #JamieSims

Written by: #SamUnderwood

A man and a woman (Ophelia and Hamlet) lay in a bed together, Hamlet’s back is turned to face Ophelia as she gazes upon the back of his head. Hamlet’s face is badly beaten with bruises and cuts in all areas. The colours are subtle but the overall image is bright with natural light.

’A visceral and urgent reimagining of one of Shakespeare’s tragic love stories. Two people, both pushed to their own limits whilst trying to hold on desperately to each other, discover that love, too, can be just as destructive.’

Ophelia is a short film based on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, capturing the same features of the story but with a more modernised twist to the visions expressed. It is a film that is entirely beautiful – beauty comes in many forms and this short seems to encapsulate a range of those different forms; the beauty in love, the beauty in the struggle of love, the beauty in an aching heart. Hamlet presents the same range of forms which has then translated brilliantly into Ophelia.

Acting by Valorie Curry (Ophelia) and Sam Underwood (Hamlet) immediately strikes audiences with powerful emotion oozing from each scene. The onscreen chemistry between the two actors is spectacular; although a lot can be said with force through words, their presence next to each other simply speaks volumes. There is so much tension between the two characters, whether as a viewer you can feel it as negative or positive energy, and it is so strong that you almost expect to see a clear ball of tension personified between their bodies. Linking with this, both Curry and Underwood’s eyes put forward the character’s emotions with great passion. I adore seeing an entire world in the eyes of actors as they delve into their character’s lives and this short film may become one of my strongest examples to use when explaining the concept. Eyes are the window to the soul… even if that soul is a second of yours, seated next to your true form.

The musical score, by Fredrick Lloyd, has a soft stance within this film. The soothing sounds appear calm when listened to on their own, isolated from the knowledge of the unfolding story, but in the context of the scenes the score used is wonderfully transformed into sounds of black and white – music that calms the body but ignites the thoughts that have been stored in the small, dark box at the back of the brain. As well as the music itself being an element of beauty, the scenes where no music is played pulls the underlying tension even tighter. The quiet breathing and shuffling of only the characters enhances each emotion being portrayed, it is a gracefully overwhelming experience.

The film travels in a cyclic process, starting the same way it finishes – with tears and choked words. The same frame is used to start and to finish which pushes forward the reoccurring theme of destruction and breaking limits; the unfortunate yet predictable repetition of sobs while both hearts are still securely attached is made obvious with this flowing process.

Ophelia is overall a fantastically made short film with highly intriguing aspects to be praised throughout its duration. From the direction (Jamie Sims) to the cinematography (David Tuttman) in its own separate light, it is a short that possesses prominent talent. If you are looking for a short film that is bursting with a mixture of fierce and tender emotion then this is definitely the one for you.


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