Directed by: #JonathanHawes
Written by: Jonathan Hawes
A well constructed little drama with a pretty surprising twist, Jonathan Hawes’ film is able to shock audiences in the short amount of time they spend with the characters. The majority of the film revolves around a couple Holly and Nick portrayed by Charlotte Handley and Danny Patrick in their car discussing the death of their pet 'Pete'. Lulling the audience into a false sense of security, Hawes who also served as cinematographer keeps the visuals to a few simple recurring camera angles. Nothing flashy to the style of Pete, very muted colouring but the sound mix does have some noticeable distortions that break some audience engagement.
Pete revolves entirely on the performances with Handley and Patrick successfully deceiving the audience through only a few lines of dialogue. Most of the film is disarming, from the way Hawes frames his characters to the friendliness and sincerity of the characters that you don’t expect that anything sinister is afoot. The devil is in the details and its a testament to Hawes script that Holly and Nick’s dialogue takes on new disturbing contexts upon an immediate vital rewatch. Handley and Patrick work well against one another, keeping their scene within the car at an exceptional level of convincing mundanity. Their conversation consists of brief notions of grief, memory and acceptance and teases at subtle nuances in the relationship without revealing the film’s hand too early.
When the secret behind Pete is revealed, Handley and Patrick do divulge in a bit of theatrics but its well deserved as they are key to misleading the audience with only a few lines of dialogue. With Hawes’ simple camera work and script, nothing about the film’s reveals feel out of place, it is an effective subterfuge between filmmaker and audience. Due to the very short runtime, the film is proficient in making the bare minimum work to maximum effect, two actors talking in a car is usually an easy cop-out for low budget filmmakers. However, Hawes’ approach to this story makes it work as it is a clean ‘get in and get out’ approach, no filler, no waffle, and it's over before the audience becomes underwhelmed by the lack of production value.
Short, sweet and to the point in a way that doesn’t waste a second of the audience’s time, Pete is a well written and edited piece from Jonathan Hawes. You get everything you need so quickly that you want to watch it all over again to pick apart the hidden clues, it may feel like a one-trick pony but with a film this short, one trick is all you need.