Directed by Bulent Ozdemir Starring Alan Stenson, Andrew Dowbiggin & Remie Purtill-Clarke Short film review by Sarah Smeaton
Promised is a sublimely shot and intense short film. Written and directed by Bulent Ozdemir, this film provides a tiny snapshot into the raw emotion of archangels Lucifer and Michael. Not only does this concentrate on archaic characters that generate more interest today than ever before, but there is also a beautiful assessment of humanity’s moral compass. What happens if you promise something so intrinsic to life, so rigid, and yet if it is not kept, will change the course of mankind forevermore? Here we have a fantastic insight into how far we can be pushed. Everyone has their limitations, even an archangel. When Lucifer reminds Michael of the promise he has once made, Michael eloquently argues, “The promise I made was to a true brother. You, you are an abomination.”
I think what makes Promised such a captivating short film is the true talent portrayed by all the actors involved in this production, which is a rare and beautiful thing in itself. The true uncensored emotion that Alan Stenson brings to the role of Michael is palpable throughout. In the opening sequences, there is no explanation as to what has happened to put Michael in such a state of sheer rage, however, this is virtually irrelevant as his dramatic anger and loss of control provides an all-consuming viewing experience. Equally, Andrew Dowbiggin (Lucifer) brings the true cockiness required to truly fulfil the role of Lucifer. Even in the face of what appears to be death, Lucifer here is seemingly undeterred and unaffected, which is exactly what we would expect to see from this infamous character. Stepping into character roles such as these, of which everyone is familiar with, can surely be no easy feat, but Stenson and Dowbiggin do it with class and ease. The role of Faith is a smaller part, however, Remie Purtill-Clarke brings a true sense of horror and realism to this role as well.
An effective tactic of interspersing penetrating, high-level action scenes with more serene, still shots, has been adopted here by Ozdemir. The result is very effective, whereby he encourages the viewer to drop their guard, and in the next second introduces a more intense, aggressive scene. The juxtaposition of the two, along with lighting and sound that complements the level of action, creates a real piece of artwork here. My only real complaint is that I would have liked it to be longer. The shortness of Promised, does, however, mean that we get a really focused assessment of emotion, family attachment and betrayal, which I think might have been lost in a longer sequences, which would have required a more complex plotline. Even so, I think you’ll be left begging for more.