Directed by Steven Alexander Russell Starring Damien Rochester, Wi-Mato Nyoka & Marisa Rambaron Short Film Review by Sarah Smeaton
Tastes Like Medicine is a clever, psychological drama that will leave you begging for more. We meet main character Drew (Damien Rochester) at a crossroads in his life, where he is attending the baby shower of his ex-girlfriend, Allison, yet clearly has not moved on with his own life since her. It quickly becomes evident that the date he has brought with him is in actual fact a call girl (Wi-Mato Nyoka) that he has paid for. Even better, she has the unfortunate name of Kake. It is, therefore, immediately obvious that all is not as well in Drew’s world as he is trying to portray to ex-girlfriend, Allison (Marisa Rambaron).
What is so enticing about this short film is that it is clear from the start there is more to this story than it immediately wants to let on. The opening lines set the tone for the rest of the plot; “You ever stare at something for so long that it changes before your very eyes?” This is said with such focus, it immediately captures your attention, generating both intrigue and interest. Drew is completely immerse in the devastation caused from his ex-girlfriend leaving him, and we watch on helplessly as it slowly takes control of him and rips him apart. Rochester plays this role excellently with a truly convincing performance of such a troubled and haunted man. Equally, the rest of the crew perform incredibly well in Tastes Like Medicine. All of the actors here are performing highly emotional scenes, yet none fall into the typical pitfall of over-acting and over-dramatising, providing just the right level of emotion to be believable.
The cinematography of this short film is superb, so much so that you quickly forget you’re watching a budget film, which is a real credit to writer and director, Steven Alexander Russell. Being in black and white, the perfect tone is set for what is essentially a rather dark film, with an even darker centre. The audio does, however, fall short at times with dips in volume and quality. Every so often random drum beats take precedence over all sound, which does indeed heighten the suspense and tension, but the barbarity of the noise unfortunately just took this reviewer’s mind away from the action. Perhaps it was Russell’s intention to keep the audience off-guard and to play with our senses, but I found myself distanced from this, even it was intentional.
All in all, this is an engaging and cunning short film, and if the dark nature at its heart had been explored more fully and openly, I think we would have had a truly fantastic film here.