Updated: Jan 12, 2020
Film Name: When the Music Stops Playing
Star Rating out of 5: ★★★★
Directed by: #FrankDonnangelo
Written by: #BradyMorell
Review by: Jasmine Holly Bullock
When the Music Stops Playing is an under-four-minute short, written by Brady Morell and directed by Frank Donnangelo, which follows a man trying to come to terms with loneliness and the recent death of his wife. The premise of the film is clearly a sad one... but that is overshadowed by how highly disturbing the idea of this film is. To see the sheer desperation of the man and his longing for his wife is not pleasant.
When the Music Stops Playing was produced by Carlo Mendoza and his work with the cinematography was nicely thought out and simple, in a good way. I liked the almost dull filter that seemed to be over the film, it really gave the sense that there was no liveliness in this man’s life anymore.
Andrew Aquino plays the unnamed man, and his acting was great, especially when you take into account the fact that there was no dialogue. Aquino was able to portray grieving and being lost in a not-over-the-top way, which is always appreciated. The wife is played by Eva-Marie Fredric; she does a great job too, although she doesn’t get to do much.
It is nice to see the occasional film that doesn’t need dialogue to tell a story, thanks to the actors, directors and other important aspects that allow the story to be told. For example, the setting was great because it was varied and fitting for each moment, and certain settings actually helped to clarify what was going on in the film. Because of this, the settings and props within them were useful and served purpose rather than being used purely for aesthetic reasons.
The film is rather quiet except for the eventual playing of one song, which also happens to be one of my favourite songs, When I Fall in Love by the legendary Nat King Cole. This is a beautiful song and is also really well suited to the film. The lyrics and sweet instrumentals almost make you forget the reality of the story and you start to really understand how the loss of a loved one has impacted the man. However, the unnerving distortion of the music as it comes to an end is a really nice touch and reminds you of how creepy the film actually is, despite its tender moments.
When the Music Stops Playing is a production that has clearly been done with consideration and skill by all those involved. For a film that is so short, the fact that it can effectively show a relationship between two people and the immediate story of one without the other is impressive. Brady Morell has written a piece that really gives viewers an insight into mourning and how a fraught person might try to deal with it, how letting go of the past is one of the hardest parts. Some would do anything to have it all back, even for a moment.