Outside the Lighthouse Short Film Review

★★★★

Directed by: #MohammedElmzaghi

Written by: #MohammedElmzaghi

Starring: #RonanColfer, #PauloCartier #AnnaKaliuzhnaia

Film Review by: Oliver Smither



Outside the Lighthouse poster

Outside the Lighthouse follows the story of a troubled journalist, Steven, played by Ronan Colfer, who has lost his way as an artist, and grapples with the fact that the powers that be prevent any individual expression and limit his creative range as a writer. Directed by Mohammed Elmzaghi, Outside the Lighthouse is an intimate portrayal of a man dissatisfied with the path he is on, highlighting the damage that comes from not pursuing one’s true passions.

Throughout the film, there is very little exploration outside the life of our troubled protagonist, making it completely character driven. Therefore, the success of this drama relies heavily on the performance of Colfer and the direction of Elmzaghi. Due to their joint commitment to this picture, what we as the audience witness is a man in quiet turmoil, on the brink of implosion. This is juxtaposed with the far more vocal Javier, played by Paulo Cartier, the evidently fed-up colleague who recognises that he is no longer writing out of passion but rather assignment.

Colfer approaches the role of Steven with an immutable melancholy. Words are not necessary to show us how he feels as in every movement or action he makes, there is a clarity of expression making Steven’s internal struggle perpetually evident. Colfer delivers an immense lack of enthusiasm to the character which demonstrates the emptiness within Steven quite emphatically.

This is not a dialogue heavy film, and the script when employed doesn’t really serve any purpose as, fortunately, the onus is on the acting and the direction. However, the score proves to be an effective tool in highlighting the despondency of the journalist. It keeps him silent, even in rage, echoing the way in which the establishment is silencing his passion, his creative thoughts.

Elmzaghi has focussed on the use of slow panoramic shots which tend to be centred around emptiness. The restaurant being so bare mirrors the void felt by Steven. The entire editing process appears to be geared towards minimalism. Every frame, every shot has as little going on as possible, all a subtle parallel to the life of the journalist.

The entire film is predicated on the fact that there is an emptiness in Steven with every aspect of the film seeking to emphasise this. This theme that pervades throughout the film can be put down to decisive editing and a dynamic score. Steven’s life may be monotonous but thankfully the film doesn’t suffer from that same tedium. If there is something to be learnt from Outside the Lighthouse it is not to succumb to the pitfalls of comfort and security, but to seek out your true passion regardless of any obstacles that may stand in your way.