The word ‘verso’ is defined as ‘the reverse of something’ and usually refers to a book or a painting, making the name of Ryan Russell Steele and Joseph Victor’s short film a very fitting one. The whole film is shown in chronological reverse, which also makes Verso very visually interesting. The climax of the plot occurs right at the beginning and works its way back to reveal the trigger for the sequence of events. Verso was rather refreshing to watch because the piece actually seems like a modern day silent film or a sort of music video/film hybrid. The film is also set during an artistic mixer’s event and so the theme of art and visual appeal runs throughout the production.
Verso is less than 4 minutes long, and there is no real premise to the events that occur, making its plot a hard one to judge. The plot doesn’t provide much explanation. Furthermore, there is no dialogue at all, this makes the relationships between the characters and the motivations of individual characters more ambiguous thus, judging the performers is also tough. However, if considering the actors’ abilities to use only their movement and expressions to portray their feelings and what is happening in a situation, then I can admit that this is done successfully by the entire cast. Nicholas Badamo, who plays the unnamed lead, did particularly well.
Arguably, the lack of information regarding plot and characters makes the film more intriguing. An audience member is more likely to spend time thinking about why the events of the film occur and what the relationships are between certain characters. At least, I’ve certainly thought about it. Although, for some, I suppose the unknown could also be a source of irritation.
In regards to the score, it alters to perfectly suit the different levels of stress that take place in the story. The music transitions from a heavy rock instrumental, which features guitar and bass, to a more romantic and light style of music with piano instrumentals. It is nice that the music was thought out well enough to fit the mood of different moments, because the lack of detailed plot and characters means that Verso relies on music and performance of the actors to convey its tale.
There is a description on Vimeo about the themes that Verso is trying to depict, such as the voyeurism of violence in society and how predetermined perceptions affect our opinions on what we see. I could definitely see themes of distasteful voyeurism in Verso and I appreciate this being a topic that Steele and Victor have considered due to its relevance in society. With the popularity of social media and the easy access of smart phones, we apparently live in a society obsessed with capturing every single moment digitally, whether it is good moments or horrific moments, our moments or the moments of others that we intrude upon. With this in mind, I think Verso is a work that should be appreciated for its serious themes yet playful and artistic way of exploring these themes. I wonder if Verso is a film with the aim of storytelling or a project with the aim of exposing the questionable social practices of modern-day society.