The Nature of the Flame


Review by Chris Olson

Full of stark visuals and a haunting score, Mike Messier’s atmospheric short film takes an artistic route without much thought to destination. Two women, seemingly in the throes of a beautiful connection, spend time holding hands and embracing in longing looks with each other across wooded landscapes, whilst a sinister element threatens.

There is a naturalistic element to the movie, something that Messier does well. Keeping the tone of the film consistent throughout whilst offering a picturesque and compelling array of cinematography (Chris Hunter as Director of Photography) - which builds and releases with great tension. The movie finishes with a quote from Zhuangzi about the nature of consciousness and our perception of reality. This, accompanied with the abstract feel of The Nature of the Flame’s plot, offers wide interpretations as to the intentions of the filmmaker.

With only a few lines of script thrown in, the performances are largely movement based. Lindsey Elisabeth Cork at times seems to float on screen, a serenity in her posture that captures the existential nature of the film, whilst Jocelyn Padilla’s character feels more grounded in the world, a perfect counterbalance. The whole thing feels like a perfume commercial at times, but there is also a ballet of entwining bodies and limbs that coalesces before the viewer - engaging them with nuances and stares, allowing a more versatile thought-process to develop, especially when the visuals turn more sinister.

Fans of visual artistry will find themselves in capable hands with Mike Messier, and the graceful poise of Cork and Padilla will enrapture viewers with a penchant for modern high-brow films. That being said, expect to come away with no clear story or themes, just a collection of insinuations and suggestive filmmaking that may or may not swirl in your brain after the film finishes.


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