Directed by Peter Roe
Starring Alex Walton, Josephine Rogers, & Dan Gaisford
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
Stylish and subversive, short film Repression from filmmaker Peter Roe is a taught psychological thriller that combines fluid camera work and complex storytelling.
Set entirely within the apartment of Daniel (Alex Walton), we are greeted with Daniel awakening in his bed fully dressed, and see him seamlessly slip into his dining room and carry on with a dinner party with his partner Lily (Josephine Rogers) and her brother James (Dan Gaisford). This theatrical movement is carried on throughout the short film, with scenes of Daniel's life being played out like a carousel of drama, and as the plot is revealed like a slowly revealing image, the harrowing nature of his situation becomes realised in spectacular fashion.
There is a degree of bold capability about Roe's film, which he wrote, produced and directed, that sets it apart from other psychological thrillers that attempt to blend drama with cognitive function. This is largely down to the choice to have fluid sequences and camerawork which mean the audience is given no respite in which to question what they are being presented with. This lends a pacing that is fierce and unrelenting, amping up the tension brilliantly. It also complements the mental state of Daniel, capturing the frenetic energy of his thoughts and the seemingly brutal process he is experiencing.
The central performance from Walton is superb, delivering a myriad of emotions without jarring the flow and keeping the intrigue about his character until the final frame. His heartbreaking scenes with Rogers are done with beautiful pathos and keep the film grounded, where it could easily have floated off with the continuous scene method being used. A final scene with Gaisford is particularly enthralling, delivering the knockout punch the movie needed and deserved.
Minor criticism should be noted on the lighting. At times the tone we hugely complemented by the lighting, creating a stark contrast between light and dark that was foreboding. However, some scenes lost their momentum due to the characters disappearing into the darkness. That being said, audiences will still be glued and a second watch is most definitely recommended.
Overall, Repression is a short film that manages to bridge many genre gaps whilst being intricately entertaining. It is tense, dramatic, bold and daring and yet keeps a heart through its characters that prevents the style overtaking the substance.