Directed by #WillLiney
Short Film Review by Jack Bottomley
The Hearing Movie Review
A confined cast can work wonders for a film or TV show, be it short or long. Narrowing your story to a small number of characters can work to enrich those characters and if a filmmaker has a handle on their story, then you are well and truly off and away. Director/co-writer #WillLiney’s The Hearing is an example of exactly this and is a short film and story that plays out remarkably methodically considering the brief length, and it works really well in pulling you in to an ultimately sci-fi infused drama.
To go into the synopsis too much would give away too many details and this is a film that works best when you have more to do in listening to the dialogue and the story information. However, the plot sees a man feasting at a table full of fine goods in the middle of the woods, a younger man wakes at the other end of the table, unsure of how he got there and the two begin discussing his life. But something is not quite right about this situation, and the stakes are far higher than they seem for both men. Opening with brief details, almost like Alien-esque text on a computer screen, The Hearing soon unfolds into a nicely building exercise in dramatic intensity and is a story about hindsight, reflection and life itself.
You immediately notice the production design by #TeddieHargrave, and were it not for that opening text clue, you’d possibly think this would be a historical offering, set a century or two back, as this seeming feast takes place. However, through some gradually impressive sound work and certain visual techniques (some of which initially - in the opening minute or so - seem like flaws in the film), the real game starts getting clearer and clearer. The dialogue hints at extremism, abandoning loved ones for a cause and the nativity of youth, and as the exchanges get fiercer, the film kicks into fever pitch. The intentionally overpowering score by #EdwardRogers comes into play, the initially jittery sounds grow in their power and #BenjyKirkman’s cinematography becomes distorted and disrupted by visual effect. And as the game becomes more visible, the tension in the air is really quite palpable.
As Lifer 00408 #NeilHobbs is passionate and emotive and turns in a shattering and desperate performance by the apex of the film, which is a great stretch from his initially calm and collected presence. While the film’s co-writer #RoddyDeLaRosa is equally enthused as the young man Gabriel, who is dead set on his beliefs and contrasts with his older onscreen cohort, yet shares much in common with him. While #GemmaBowles makes her presence felt as “the voice”.
I really enjoyed this short. The narrative - of all things - actually reminded me of a particular episode of comedy sci-fi series Red Dwarf called “The Inquisitor” in its philosophical edge, as we are forced to ask ourselves what would we say? How would we change our present with knowledge of both our past and our future?