Directed by Dom Lee
Starring Kevin Johnson and George Bull
Short Film Review by Annie Vincent
An engaging, three-minute tummy-turner that leads you down the garden path to the most tragic of sheds.
Dom Lee’s short film Rocketshed opens with Jack (George Bull) and Dad (Kevin Johnson) sat side by side in a dim, cramped room, boiler suits on, their names stitched in white. Around them fairy lights adorn the walls which are also covered in Jack’s drawings of space, with numerous planets labelled. Whizzy dials and countdown timers beam at them from their laptops and an old sound deck serves as the control pad – these two have really gone to town on the father and son bonding: how cute!
But Dad doesn’t look as excited as Jack, in fact he looks nervous. As Jack pulls out his ‘conquerors’ flag, with ‘Dad and Jack landed here’ scrawled across it, we wonder what Dad has to say, what bad news he has to the break to Jack. He looks across at a picture of a young woman – has something happened to Jack’s Mum? Then the camera flicks off to Dad’s phone; an article about an asteroid on course to collide with earth and cause extinction is illuminated. A piano accompaniment kicks in and the audience’s curiosity turns to dread as we realise the awful truth.
The dim lighting and close camerawork are well-chosen here. Filmmaker Dom Lee captures Jack’s excitement and Dad’s anxiety side-by-side creating a great contrast on screen that intrigues us. As the film progresses, the camera stays close to Dad, tracking his emotions, which are conveyed brilliantly by Kevin Johnson. His attempts to keep it together and to keep up the pretence that this is just a game, just some father-son time that ends with an imaginary moon-landing, only adds to the poignancy as the garden shed starts to rattle and Jack becomes frightened.
A really engaging short, Rocketshed offers a rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions in just three-minutes and will appeal to audiences. If Rocketshed is anything to go by, Lee’s second short Fort Box will also be worth attention.