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Dessert

Critic:

Joe Beck

|

Posted on:

1 May 2022

Film Reviews
Dessert
Directed by:
Gabrielle Rosson
Written by:
Gabrielle Rosson
Starring:
Samantha McMahon, Paul Kandarian
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Let’s be honest, everybody’s favourite part of going out to a fancy restaurant is the novelty factor of getting a dessert. That oh-so-lovely sweet sensation of chocolate, cream or cake overpowering the remnants of a heavy meal to overwhelm the tastebuds with an unhealthy amount of sugar. There’s nothing quite like it. ‘Dessert’ is nothing like it’s namesake, the word ‘appetiser’ comes to mind - and not just because it’s a short.

 

The appetiser is traditionally the weakest part of the meal - falling short of the high standards shown in the main course and dessert. ‘Dessert’ certainly falls short of the high standards the opening few moments give the allusion of - a woman, sat in a gorgeous red dress, smoking in the back of her carriage as she’s driven to meet her husband. The opening gives the impression that the rest of the film fails to live up, showing signs of grandeur which are never quite lived up to.

 

That woman is Faith Warner (Samantha McMahon), who is beginning to feel the tensions in her marriage to her much-older husband, John (Paul Kandarian). John’s a film director, and spends lots of time away from Faith. Allegedly he’s working, however, his tone of voice and his wandering eyes suggest otherwise. It’s clear that their relationship is falling apart at the seams - he doesn’t seem to want her, and she just wants something. Anything.

 

McMahon and Kandarian suffer from the big issue of never appearing to have spoken to each other before when delivering their lines. There are pauses, significant pauses, as they wait for the other to do their job. At no stage do they come across as convincing, though they aren’t helped by a weak script from writer-director Gabrielle Rosson, which is too obvious and plain in its dialogue, lacking that oomph which can occasionally compensate from poor acting.

 

Rosson fairs better on the directing side, competently setting the scene with a series of close-ups and staging the scene well. Again, the opening scene, however, promises a masterclass in directing. That, it is not. Perhaps the biggest issue is the set design, with the interior of the club appearing stagey and unconvincingly framing what should have been a scene filled with colour and life. Aside from the soundtrack, the film also suffers from audio issues, with the dialogue often mumbled or incomprehensible.

 

Nevertheless, there are certainly positives to be taken away from this. First and foremost being the costume design, which is deserving of a far greater film than this. Each outfit perfectly captures the time and place, 1930s Hollywood, taking us back to the time of glitz and glamour. This is supported by a gorgeous jazz soundtrack, which perfectly embodies the era and encapsulates the beauty of Old Hollywood.

 

It’s intention is to explore the sexual inequalities between men and women in 1930s Hollywood (and to a certain extent today). It only half succeeds in it’s goal - getting it’s point across in some not-so-subtle ways and certainly highlighting the inequalities, although it doesn’t delve properly into them the way an exploration would suggest. Furthermore, the ending, which is supposed to be empowering, is instead frustrating due to it’s lack of build up and painfully obvious nature.

 

‘Dessert’ means well, but that doesn’t excuse a lack of quality in script, acting, audio and set design, which ultimately make the film an extremely tiring ten minutes. It’s carried by its familiar soundtrack, vibrant costume design, and competent directing. ‘Dessert’ doesn’t serve up the sumptuous treat the title suggests.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film