Directed by Colm Field & Ashley Belgrave
Written by Colm Field
Starring Celiya Koster, Jamaal Muhammad, Victor Santos, & Alfie Nash
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
A snapshot of life told in extreme close-ups, obscure framing, and...largely from the perspective of a rubbish skip. Filmmaker Colm Field's short film (co-directed by Ashley Belgrave) Skipped is peppered with lovely dramatic moments and tension, as well as delivering a visual landscape that is arresting in its banality.
Sarah (Celiya Koster) and Andre (Jamaal Muhammad) are in the process of clearing the former's flat out and filling up a skip of her unwanted possessions, things she will not need for her move to university which is imminent. The pair's relationship seems strong even facing this upcoming change, which is so often the catalyst for romance plots. The two banter as they chuck household furniture into the skip, and enjoy reminiscing about the memories that some of the items spark. Conflict strikes in the form of a hooded thug called Shox (Victor Santos) who briefly terrorises the couple, who are fortunately saved by a Good Samaritan neighbour (Alfie Nash). However, the damage to Andre's ego is perhaps more than he can handle right now.
Visually, Skipped is loaded (much like the skip) with seemingly innocuous items that when put together create a beautiful tapestry of life from an alternative angle. The idea of perspective is a strong through line which is complemented in both the filmmaking and the story. These characters about to enter into proper adulthood are the perfect age for a tale about perspective. Andre's decision to focus on the attack on his masculinity rather than helpfulness of the neighbour shows his immaturity and lack of perspective. The smorgasbord of framing techniques which are supposedly from the angle of the skip creates a wonderfully eclectic collection of angles which felt both intimate and isolated.
The pacing of the plot left a lot to be desired. It would have been beneficial to flesh out more of the relationship's backstory. Furthermore, the introduction of the two character threats felt too bulky. One would have been enough and the drama which unfolded might have felt more coherent. That being said, I just wanted more which is never a bad thing for a short film!
Koster is bubbly and believable in her role as the woman torn between her man and her future. The small violent moments were handled well. Muhammad was excellent in his portrayal, managing to cope with several huge mood shifts within a very short sequence without dropping the heightened sense of conflict or drama.
For a movie that dares to be both mundane and bold, Field and Belgrave a short film that is tenacious, unique, and...ahem...littered with lovely visuals.