Written by: Katie Vincent
Windblown Movie Review
Having worked together on the previous (and very funny) short film Prego, and the wonderful movie Pickings, audiences are likely to highly anticipate another collaboration between #filmmakers Katie Vincent and Usher Morgan. With short film Windblown, Vincent and Morgan are co-directing, and the result is a wildly compelling exploration of grief that reverberates through the soul.
Vincent stars as Beth, a young woman struggling with the passing of her brother Billy (Jacob A. Ware). Distancing herself from her mother (Susan Gallagher) and heading to their beachfront property called Windblown, Beth hopes to find some solace in order to deal with her tumultuous emotions. However, her quiet time is disturbed when she thinks she hears an intruder, which she investigates with knife in hand only to discover it is her brother, seemingly back from the dead.
Dealing with grief cinematically can be a challenging prospect, especially within the confines of a #shortfilm structure. Not only do the filmmakers rise to the occasion, they deliver arguably one of the most impressive pieces of the year. The marvellous storytelling is heightened by incredible performances, superb #filmmaking, and an absorbing atmosphere that is supercharged with tension.
The structure of the movie seems to loosely follow the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, and the psychological journey of Beth becomes the focal point for the audience. We witness her inability to actually state that her brother is “dead”, lashing out at her mother, and seeming to find coping mechanisms in the form of her brother who is lingering in her life. It’s not Billy’s in-limbo status that we concern ourselves with but Beth’s, and whether or not she will be able to move through all the stages and find peace.
Setting the film by the sea was a masterstroke. The juxtaposition of calm and choppy waters brilliantly complemented the central character’s mental state and allowed the viewer to become consumed in her world quickly. One nighttime scene by the water’s edge had the noise of the crashing waves overlapping the dialogue and wind whistling through the audio giving it a transfixing quality, beautifully submerging us into the chaos going on in Beth’s head at that pivotal moment in time. The tone and feel of the piece reminded me of the remarkable Manchester by the Sea - for its colour palette, dramatic tension, and immersive characterisation.
Katie Vincent is striking in the lead role, her delivery of the character’s numerous mental and emotional states is full of nuance and intelligently crafted. Her chemistry with Ware and Gallagher works well to arrest the viewer into the family microcosm, and we are given several explosive scenes where Vincent takes her performance to another level. As with numerous other aspects of the movie itself, the turn is full of control.
A cinematic highlight for short films in 2019, Windblown is another majestic outing from Usher Morgan and a splendid directorial debut from Katie Vincent.