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Shoal short film review


Directed by: Tammes Bernstein

Written by: Tammes Bernstein, Theo Wanderydz, William Gillies

Starring: Anna Munden, Bartley Burke, Cassian Bilton, Tracey Bargate

Poster for Shoal showing protagonist.
Poster for Shoal

A man's passing dramatically affects certain residents of a fishing village.

Eliza (Munden) works in a fishing factory, while her father, Ian (Burke) is a fisherman. One day, while Eliza is working, Ian goes out to sea, with a colleague, Tom. Apparently, a terrible accident has taken place, resulting in Tom falling into the water and vanishing. As time goes by, the locals begin to suspect that Ian could have been responsible for Tom's death and begin treating Eliza and her dad with hostility, even vandalizing their house. This causes her to believe there might by a side to her father that she was unaware of.

This short story is part mystery and part family drama and explores themes of grief, death and trust. The narrative focuses on two subjects: whether Ian murdered Tom and the effects the tragedy has on the relationship between Eliza and Ian. The film does a good job in creating suspense and drama, and makes the audience want to find out what really happened to Tom.

Munden delivers a great performance as an everyday girl, whose world is turned upside down when her father is suspected of wrongdoing. Burke is very convincing as an individual who appears to be grief-stricken, while Bilton and Bargate are emotional as the grieving son and widow of Ian.

Bernstein directs very effectively, making wonderful establishing shots and a terrific bird's-eye view shot. He successfully captures the beauty of the filming locations. Credit also goes to the dramatic score by Natalia Tsupryk that helps develop the right atmosphere.

The film also takes a look into life in the fishing industry, as it shows characters operating a fishing boat and working in a factory, dressed in uniform, cutting and processing fish and crabs.

Shoal is an achievement that deserves praise and recognition. Well acted and directed, with plenty of drama, it offers an interesting experience.



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