Directed by Branko Tomovic Starring Branko Tomovic, Francesca Fowler & Dervla Kirwin Short Film Review by Amaliah S. Marmon-Halm
RED is a short dark and edgy thriller set in the underground world of illegal organ smuggling, the so-called red market.
Niklas (Branko Tomovic – lead, writer, director), a surgeon who lives a life of solitude and is tormented by self hatred, performs regular illegal surgeries for the red market. He works together with Mia (Francesca Fowler), a young prostitute who lures her clients in and drugs them. Niklas is looking for a way out of this dark world, but owes his life to their violent crime boss Ed (Dervla Kirwin), who would rather kill him then let him go.
Right from the off, the audience is lulled in to a false sense of security as to the nature of the film. From the tone, the music, the way Niklas jolts awake, it’s easy to assume the storyline to be something different. We are introduced to his ritual, in order to drown out what he’s about to do from his mind, he uses the gentle music to aide him in his “work”. Niklas’ torment is very hard not to emphasise with, the feeling of being trapped with no way out of his current mess.
Things come to a head for Niklas when, after he confides in Mia in his plans to escape his problems, their boss decides to pay an unfortunate visit. This doesn't end well as Niklas is faced with a choice: fulfil her cruel demands or one of them dies. In order to not spoil the ending, it’s best to watch this short film in all it’s gorey glory. It will leave you on the edge of your seat and that is when you know you have a well-constructed piece of filmmaking on your hands.
This three-man cast is a small yet powerful set up. Tomovic, as writer, lead actor and director, does a fantastic role in not only constructing a story that drags the audience down to the seedy underbelly of a world not many of us would think still exits and then emotionally portraying the feeling of being stuck in that world. Fowler gives a performance reminiscent of Sarah Paulson’s role as Sally McKenna in season 5 of American Horror Story. Broken, lost and a little bit in denial. Kirwin is brilliantly dark and plays the role of an evil crime boss a little too well, not that that’s a bad thing.
This is a thriller that leaves you with goosebumps and hoping for a non-existent happy ending.