Written & Directed by: #ZacharyAborizk
Short Film Review by #ChrisBuick
#Shortfilm The Mannequin Dreams from writer/director Zachary Aborizk tries its best to create something of a surreal metaphor, but ultimately seems too preoccupied with trying to create something that looks cleverer that it actually is.
Sisyphus (Jammer) finds himself plagued by the inescapable memory of a horrific tragedy, struggling to cope with the premature passing of former lover Merope (Derricks). Unable to face the harsher reality of the present, he now seems trapped in some kind of weird and twisted reality, where inexplicable mannequin parts keep making their way to him, leaving Sisyphus faced with the daunting task of quite literally trying to pick up the pieces of his broken self in an effort to confront his loss.
Part of the problem here is just how long the film takes to actually start going somewhere. It’s not until well over five minutes into the films already precious twelve-minute runtime that The Mannequin Dreams even begins to start alluding to any kind of point or story, and even then it’s a plot so incredibly threadbare that we don’t really get to witness anything other than Sisyphus’ aimless meandering about or a tedious slew of monochromatic close-ups of plants, waves and other pointless randomness, meaning the inversely impressive hard work that has been achieved with some beautiful cinematography is wasted without any form of compelling plot to tie it all together in order to create some semblance of a narrative.
This also means that there is very little at all for either of its cast members to work with in order to inject this piece with something worth sitting up for, that being said what they do get to do is done perfectly well. The fraction we see of what once was for the relationship between Sisyphus and Merope comes across from both actors and says what it needs to, as does Jammer’s despair-ridden heartbreak, but it’s a shame that with nothing else to feed off, there are no other levels for him to go to.
However, as mentioned, while The Mannequin Dreams may be lacking in any sort of tangible storytelling, it certainly gets marks for the sense of tone it somewhat creates through its experimental framing and unsettling score. The almost entirely monochromatic imagery creates the spot-on sense of loneliness and melancholy that brilliantly captures the desolate nature of Sisyphus’ soul. But again, without the right balance of substance to counterweight an impeccable style, after a while it starts to come across as pure pretentiousness.
The Mannequin Dreams deserves some merit for what it does achieve in most of the technical areas, but its inelegant and minimal plot unfortunately gets in the way of all that, meaning it never really hopes to interest or allow the film to fulfil its full potential.
The Mannequin Dreams is now available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.