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The River short film review

Directed by James Quinn

Starring Jack Hutchinson, Emmy Happisburgh & Andrew Snowball

Short film review by Monica Jowett

Mystical short film The River follows a young boy, suffering from the death of his trumpet-playing brother. Alone in the world, he seeks hope and solace in a boat that sails along the river which emanates a trumpet sound, reminding him of his sibling. Written and directed by James Quinn, this short shows how a young boy will go to any lengths to find comfort from his devastating loss.

Andrew (Jack Hutchinson) is a young boy whose innocence is broken after the death of his brother, a trumpet player and much loved by his family. To cope with his grief, Andrew wanders down by the river near to his house amongst the trees, where it is quiet and no one bothers him. Whilst he walks down there, he hears a trumpet playing and seeks out the source. Finding it to be a small sailing boat out on the river, and unable to see who the player of the trumpet is, Andrew tries his hardest to get to the boat and make his parents Judith (Emmy Happisburgh) and Brian (Andrew Snowball) to understand. As Andrew wants to be near his brother in any way, his parents are struggling to admit to themselves one of their sons is no longer with them and that their other son needs them.

For a young actor it can be difficult to show the anguish and desperation Andrew is going through, and with a simple but rich story to portray, Hutchinson shows great acting strength in his role. With less dialogue for him, we see his vulnerability through his face and actions. The parents too are able to portray the difficulty of grieving for a child, especially when there is another child in need of comfort.

The River boasts stunning cinematography. Director of photography Joe Douglas uses the dark colours of the wood and trees along by the river to highlight the darkness this family is going through. Soft lighting and the tranquil music accompany the gorgeous aesthetics of the short film making scenes that highlight Andrew’s bereavement more poignant.

The River is an attractive short film from James Quinn about a grieving young boy trying to find solace. Using a gripping and heart breaking story, along with stunning cinematography, this film is one that linger on with the viewer.

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