Directed by Christopher Hughes
Written by Shelley Davenport
Starring Shelley Davenport and Toby Spearpoint
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
The inescapable sadness of love lost delivered with sophisticated pathos in this tragic short film directed by Christopher Hughes and written by Shelley Davenport. Set inside the apartment of a couple in the process of breaking up, the pair divide their belongings with more attention than they are willing to assign to their parting, focusing on years of trivialities which ironically make up their relationship.
Davenport plays one of the lead roles, opposite Toby Spearpoint as her belligerent ex. The two are a lovely swirling force within the confines of this bleak flat, allowing audiences to be swept up in their emotional demise whilst delivering a great deal of poignancy and human foibles. During one scene where Spearpoint berates his former partner for not reading a book he lent her, there is a charming sense of connection between the two of them as latter didn't want to hurt the former's feelings because she didn't like it.
Consciously made in black and white, Hughes is brilliantly aware of the tone he wants to create with his filmmaking. Further enhanced by choosing to have the instability his characters are feeling mirrored by an uncomfortable mix of soft panning and sharp edits in the sequences. This polarising effect reveals the range of emotions in the scenes, letting the viewer feel like they are being submerged into the lives of these two characters then quickly snapping to another frame as if to elude any real sense of understanding them, because...how could we? This relationship belongs only to them and that is why it is so fragile and special.
Watch the official Movie Trailer for Torpedo above.
There is a soft jazz style score which sparingly accompanies Torpedo, from Robert Emms, something which lends a sense of awkwardness against the heavy emotions of the scenes, almost like these people are avoiding their real feelings by focusing on tiny irrelevancies rather than a bigger picture. It is a shallow score set against the depth of the themes, and something which works well.
At times the plot of the short film feels a bit messy, which could be reflective of the nature of the situation the couple finds themselves in, enjoying the chaos by flitting around so much. Sadly this had the effect of being a touch unsatisfying. I wanted more from the movie and these characters, more coherence, which proves the quality of the filmmaking but reveals a flaw in the storytelling.
Revelling in the infinite nuances of a failing relationship, Torpedo is as insightful as it is aesthetically pleasing. Aside from a slight under-delivery in the final third, Hughes offers an engulfing short film that will resonate with audiences wholeheartedly.