Directed by: #RoshanKalampadan
Film Review by: #BrianPenn
So we’ve all done it as students; a night out on the lash that disappears into the ether with no memory of how you got home, save for the odd splash of tomato ketchup. However, short film The Rat Trap adopts a more sinister variation replacing ketchup with blood.
Prakash and Ramesh are riding home from a night out when the latter has to stop for a comfort break at the nearest tree. He returns in a panic urging Prakesh to drive; next morning they awake with Ramesh drenched in blood.
An altercation has put political activist Sharath in hospital and the pair soberly assess the implications. Sharath is the son of an MP and has considerable clout on the college campus. Ramesh claims he was assaulted and merely defended himself; Prakash is doubtful and wonders if his civil service aspirations are at play. Local enforcers Hari and Sudheesh soon show up looking for answers.
The good cop/bad cop routine quickly kicks in as Hari ominously takes Ramesh onto the roof top for a chat; meanwhile Sudheesh has a conversation with Prakash. But for reasons that are never properly explained Sudheesh remains in the bathroom for most of their discussion. This is where the plot disappears into a rabbit hole and fails to reach a satisfactory conclusion. Around ten minutes of political posturing (mainly from Hari) dominate the film’s latter stages without purpose or clarity.
The dialogue is clipped and rushed with subtitles that pass in the blink of an eye. The movie title The Rat Trap implies characters are lured into a compromising position; but I just couldn’t see the angle and only added to confusion on screen. Having said that, some things about the film were very good; the cast had great presence and carried their respective roles with confidence; the piece was mainly shot after nightfall which produced a gorgeous hue of orange and purple against artificial light.
But it was let down by a poorly executed plot devoid of logic and muddled by an annoyingly righteous script. Making a short often requires greater discipline than a feature length film; points in the plot have to be made quickly and concisely in the time available. A decent story is lost in a wordy script and could have been told more easily than it was.