The Knight Out Short Film Review

★★★★

Directed by: #AkashSunethkumara

Written by: #AkashSunethkumara

Starring: #RomaneDananjani, #AkashSunethkumara, #DilshanFonseka

Film Review by Lucy Clarke

Two men (Akash Sunethkumara and Dilshan Fonseka) sit at a café table, playing chess. This hobby seems rather innocuous, just a regular meeting between friends. But underneath the surface, this isn’t a casual game. In their shared imagination, the two men fight over who will approach the pretty stranger (Romane Dananjani) who just entered the café. Director Akash Sunethkumara’s The Knight Out, which is self-styled as an action musical, is a dynamic, well-produced action film. While the music beats as the two men fight it out, it becomes apparent that this is a film filled with lashings of imagination.

What starts out as a challenge quickly becomes a battle between yin and yang. Instead of chess, the two men fight, with fists and swords. Each move is intercut with shots of them in the café, contemplating where to place their pieces next. The editing is snappy and quick, and the shots between the real and the imagined worlds create an intriguing concept. The action shares similarities to Edgar Wright’s action scenes in Baby Driver and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. The editing in The Knight Out is lightning quick, and the combination of the editing and the smoothly choreographed fight scenes even give the impression that motion lines have been added to emphasise the action. Even though neither of the friends places themselves into mortal danger, the battle is still rewarding and intense.

This is an action film, but it is also labelled as a musical. While the music elevates the film into a gripping action set-piece, and the throbbing bass creates a sense of rippling tension, the best track is during the credits. Despite its genre, the music isn’t the most impressive thing in this film. Instead, it is the imaginative scenario, which blurs together fantasy, reality and wishful thinking. As the men fight, their feet touch the black and white boxes of their chessboard. While they strategise to win their game of chess, they also aim to claim victory via a physical fight. By adding in these two worlds, Sunethkumara has created an action film that refuses to feel stale.

The Knight Out ripples with dynamism and imagination. Sunethkumara has succeeded in not only creating a unique film, but the action is absorbing and engaging. As a result, this film doesn’t feel out of place in a world filled with Marvel and blockbusters. Fun, tense and exciting – The Knight Out claims the title of champion.