Directed by David Rock
Animated Film Review by Chris Olson
The craft of animation is a painstaking process that has demanded more and more from filmmakers as the genre has been exponentially explored by some of the best in the movie industry. Stop-motion in particular has seen some recent gems, including (but not limited to) Kubo and the Two Strings, My Life as a Courgette, and Anamolisa. The arduous nature of making a stop-motion movie often garners a great deal of respect from audiences, who at the very least will appreciate the effort that has gone into the shooting. Now...tie this formidable filmmaking process in with a harrowing subject matter like physical disability, and you will find one particularly amazing short film: Walk.
Directed and lovingly crafted by David Rock, this short recently won top prize at the Independent Directions Film Festival, and rightly so. It portrays the efforts of one man attempting to walk with the aid of a Zimmer frame whilst creatively displaying the inner turmoil that he feels using abstract sound design and hectic montages. The animation aesthetic utilises crayon drawing which has a sublime effect of simplifying what is a very complex issue without undermining the importance of it, making the overall effect more universal. The flip book structure feels like a nightmarish glimpse into a person's innermost demons that ventures very deeply, very quickly, resulting in a powerfully immersive viewing experience for an audience of all ages.
Sound is used with chaotic abandon that increases in its ferocity, possibly representing both the rawness of our protagonist's conflict at the same time as his motivation to improve. The sound and visuals are beautifully matched during Walk, so much so that it brought to mind the stunning Christmas animation The Snowman but with added pathos.
The duration could prove to be a bone of contention with audiences who may feel Rock could have developed the whole thing a lot further. Conversely, Walk packs a mighty punch when it comes to making a visceral point about physical disability that is heavily reliant on being succinct. An aspect of the aesthetic which some viewers may find jarring is the jumbled numbers that appear down the side of the frame which became distracting. Regardless, it cannot be argued that this is not a marvellous piece of filmmaking mastery.