Written and Directed by Daniel Bergeson
Starring Aimee Klein, Anya Clites
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
Every now and then a film emerges that could not have been more timely if it tried. With one of the hot topics in society at the moment being the sexual assault of women by men with power and the need for stronger gender balance everywhere, a film whereby a wife kills her abusive husband and buries him in an unmarked grave seems perfectly apt. Furthermore, writer and director Daniel Bergeson delivers a short film that boasts great performances, stylish filmmaking, and a wonderfully immersive aesthetic.
Aimee Klein plays the aforementioned wife, who greats us at the beginning of Unearthed with an almighty grunt as she labours over her arbitrarily placed grave. Her physical efforts are not the only thing being tested, though, as her daughter (Anya Clites) constantly berates her over her recent decisions including the reason why behind a mound of unearthed dirt nearby lies a body bag with two booted feet poking out.
A sumptuous earthy feel to the visual landscape of Bergeson's short film makes it utterly compelling. Naturalistic tones are used to ground the characters and drama, whilst the acoustic blues soundtrack heaps on atmosphere. This aesthetic tone does wonders for the pacing of the movie which is intelligently rolled out slowly without conceding to needless theatrics.
Klein is absolutely dominating on screen, riffing through a brilliant menu of character emotions that are convincing and engaging. Her interaction with Clites is a totally believable mother-daughter relationship that was well sculpted for the viewer. The sequences without dialogue are just as effective, such as some of the flashback moments or when she is driving the boisterous pickup truck through the country roads.
Having opted for a story with such a formidable female lead, Bergeson challenges the viewer to question the morality of her actions in the face of a dire situation. This is then ingeniously jolted by a revelation later in the story which makes the thematic depth of Unearthed all the more affecting and bittersweet.
It's a marvellous dramatic short that captures cinematic beauty, a breathtaking central performance, and superb character depth all rolled up into a painfully relevant story with enduring themes of strength, guilt, loss and pain. Arguably not the most uplifting of themes but when done with such skilled craftsmanship as this, you cannot help but be totally moved by the experience.
Watch the official Movie Trailer for Unearthed below...