While the Cat's Away... - Short Film Review

Updated: Apr 12

★★★★★

Written & Directed by: #AaronCarroll

Starring: #CariadWallace

Short Film Review by Taryll Baker

Sarah receives a message that her beloved will be late home tonight. What will she do to pass the time? Whatever she wants.

While the Cats Away... film poster

This intriguing little short written and directed by Aaron Carroll shows a woman who usually spends each evening with her other half, seemingly clueless as to what she should do when he’s caught up at work. Smartly opening with the title “While the Cat’s Away…” sweeping onto the screen as we pan into a close-up of a toy mouse on the floor, then cutting to a vibrant burst of colour as Sarah dances like she’s in a music video, this film clearly has the goal of being completely free-spirited and fun.


But there’s a little more to it. While the Cat’s Away… doesn’t waste a second with the character of Sarah. Wallace brings forward a great energy to her role, and the layers that Carroll wrote into the script begin to unravel in such a genius and satisfying way. Both the performance and direction of the character make this striking film an extremely entertaining watch. From the neon-drenched music video vibes, to the fast cut montage-esque scenes where we see Sarah just prancing around the house, this is a stunningly crafted piece.


There are clues scattered throughout the film that on rewatch would make a lot more sense, and it’s this kind of attention to detail that grabs the viewer and gives them something to think about whilst the story unfolds. While the Cat’s Away… is a simple film, but the execution is more extravagant than you might expect. The subtleness present makes everything hit a lot harder, and to go along with this is the moody, textured music score by Andrew Worboys. His keenness to play it light suits the film, and when the moment is right he kicks it up. This is technically and visually top-notch stuff.


This is an Australian production, so of course it’s brilliant. There’s something about the quality of their short films that just clicks; it’s not uncommon to witness a ton of great filmmakers coming out from this country, and While the Cat’s Away… just gave us another reason to admire and cherish that creativity. Aaron Carroll’s previous short Harvey showed a strange quirkiness while tackling a serious topic, and here he is again with his unique storytelling style and wonderful dark humour. It seems most of the creative team from the latter is back here too, including cinematographer Cameron Zayec, who perfectly captured both films. So it’s in good taste to say that this is a must watch.


- #TaryllBaker