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The Initiation short film review


Directed by: #SheikhShahnawaz

Written by: Sheikh Shahnawaz


The Initiation short film poster
The Initiation short film poster

The Initiation begins with a tense background music that steadily builds up as the director skillfully establishes the setting and the mood of the whole film.

Intelligently, the claustrophobic space of the car is used to portray the power hierarchies between the characters involved. Two childhood friends decide to join the local mafia as a desperate attempt to change their lives. As the name suggests, The Initiation shows us how they are put to a test by the gang leader, an act of initiation, before being recruited. They are pitted against each other with their lives at stake. Only one of them can survive, only one of them will be chosen. Who is going to make it out alive of the two?

The story unfolds rather slowly until the moment of climax is reached. A precise cut to a close up of the gun, with the fingers pressing the trigger. Snap. The gun was not loaded. It puts us out of our misery but only temporarily, as we continue to helplessly watch the leader loading the gun and stepping forward. The second guy stands with his shoulders hunched forward, his head bent down. He closes his eyes, his whole body posture that of defeat. He resigns himself to his imminent death. But in the last minute, the leader turns back to the first guy. This time when the bullet is fired, the camera focuses on the friend’s face instead of the gun. His eyes stare out blankly at the fallen body of his friend.

“Loyalty keeps you alive.” The leader says, patting the back of his new recruit before leaving. But the dialogue rings in our ears like the last bullet shot that keeps resonating in the empty space even after our protagonists leave the room and move on to the next scene. The music has an almost dizzying effect, reflecting our lingering sense of shock. The film spreads a clear message, that it is in the face of adversity, a person’s true nature is revealed. Though obedient and seemingly calm, the first guy proves himself to be a coward when he betrays his friend’s trust and gives up on him, costing him his own life while in contrast, despite similar acute circumstances in life, the second guy resists compromising his friend and therefore survives.

Within a span of barely 8 minutes, in spite of all the limitations that an indie #filmmaker is bound to face, The Initiation is a short thriller that packs quite a punch.



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