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Within Short Film Review

★★★★★ Stars

Directed by: #ChristopherKey

Written by: #ChristopherKey

A man sits on a wood bench, facing a clear lake that stretches for miles - the edge of which is decorated with bright green trees. Surrounding the man on the bench is simply just green grass. The title of the film is placed at the top of the image in simplistic, white text.

“With a tragic ordeal he would rather forget, Michael revisits the day that changed his life forever; all whilst facing one of the most challenging decisions he has ever made… a decision that he hopes will bring closure to his past and comfort to his future.”

Within is presented in a documentary-style format as Michael (Neil Hobbs) tells the story of how he lost his daughter, with further third-person perspective scenes included as well which depict touching details of how he gets to meet her again in another form of life. This short film left me speechless for a number of minutes before I finally decided to put pen to paper and begin writing. It is almost impossible to fully describe in words how many emotions will be ignited within you as you watch this and how strongly they crash against your rib cage.

Neil Hobbs as Michael gives one of the most striking performances I’ve seen this year throughout the films I have reviewed. It isn’t surprising that he has won awards for his performance in this short. His ability to express such deep-seated emotions is beyond spectacular — as Michael describes the day he lost his daughter, the showcase of pure despair and desire to have her back in his arms again shines through in a natural, breaking beauty. These emotions hang heavy in the air, making the situation feel entirely factual; empathy, as a viewer, quickly rises as a result of Hobbs’ otherworldly acting power. Every feeling laced in his words and displayed on his face is soaked up by the audience, immediately creating a personal relationship between the character and the viewers. Trust me when I say that this connection refuses to break even after watching.

The lack of musical input throughout the short only adds to the atmosphere too, thickening the air and enhancing every uttered word and soft sob. This lack of tracks also pulls each viewer closer to the characters. Voicing that this film designs an incredibly intimate and captivating ambience is an understatement, and I love that about it! I think each viewer has a different experience while watching; everyone concluding with the same impact felt but each with a more personalised range of perspectives and sentiments as well.

The work by the director of photography, George Myer, is another aspect that must be praised. The cinematography is simplistic, obviously matching the form of which the story is told in, but it is not dull… it is light years away from being described as dull. The simplicity is breathtaking when paired with the context of the film and how the shots are stitched together. I would rather the word ‘gentle’ be used towards the cinematography instead of simplistic because somehow the word implies something without vibrancy, but each scene is bursting with vibrancy of all kinds.

Within should possess a never-ending list of awards and notes of appreciation, I truly have nothing negative to say about this impressive short film — it is a journey filled with heartwarming sadness; the two words are commonly known as opposites but Within expertly brings them together to bond as family instead.



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