Shades Short Film Review

★★★

Directed by: #SamuelHerklots

Written by: #YazminaTarquini

Starring: #TimothyHanrahan, #HollyDemaine

Film Review by: Oliver Smither



Shades movie poster

As part of an unethical experiment on a psychosis patient, a medical technician interacts with and witnesses the different states of the human mind through a new and unique instrument, a pair of glasses. Initially you’re unsure of what to expect, what will these glasses reveal? However, when what lies behind the lenses is revealed, we are met with performances that draw our focus and do, in fact, steal the show.

Whilst the dialogue for the doctor is limited, given the many voices across the table, the script is well developed and focusses, rightly so, on the necessity. No words here are wasted as Yazmina Tarquini provides a simple yet effective platform for the multiple personalities to express themselves. They are given a very solid foundation on which to build their performances around, performances which anchor this short film, thanks to the solid writing.

Whilst all of the performances have their highlights, there are a few that stuck out for me. Timothy Hanrahan is perfectly decent as Zac, but he is not the focus of Shades. Holly Demaine plays the patient, and immediately we can see the disturbance in her eyes, glazed over, almost dead behind them, this is immensely important in establishing what type of character the patient is. Whilst all the sides to her personality give laudable performances, a few stuck out for me. Red, played by Mia Tomlinson brings a level of intensity to this role that brings genuine discomfort to the viewer, the anger of Red is so visceral due to Tomlinson’s powerful, yet brief, performance. Joel Gibson who plays Orange has a similar effect; the psychotic nature of his laugh is enough for his performance to garner slightly more attention. The third stand out performance was Garry Moynes as White. The chaotic energy he brings to his role alone has the ability to conjure up feelings of anxiety in the viewer.

There is absolutely no fluidity to the editing in this film. There are quick scene changes and it doesn’t flow at all. Normally this would be undesirable. But with Shades, it seems to work. The sharp scene changes fit the psychotic energy that is omnipresent in this film. Shades doesn’t waste any time with its scene changes, it’s clear what is going on and that’s all that matters, there is no need for embellishment.

When talking of the score, the more important issue is the lack thereof. The film relishes the silent moments as they only increase the tension. This again, perpetuates the lack of embellishment apparent in every aspect of the film. The direction, the performances and the script are all that are of true necessity, the editing and the score are there to enhance these fundamentals. However, when there is a score it succeeds in matching the tone created by the director and only enhances the tension.

It goes without saying the direction is commendable, given the performances of the cast. It is clear that Samuel Herklots led them down that path and painted a picture of the sort of energy he wanted in this film.

Overall, Shades is a short film that is only as good as its performances, with that in mind, I can say it succeeds for the most part. The combination of sharp editing and intense performances create an atmosphere of chaos which manages to give an insight, however small, into the mind of a psychosis patient.


#OliverSmither