25 Feb 2022
Rhea Bailey, Darcy Jacobs
A young girl encounters a stranger in the countryside, leading to a great deal of drama.
A teenage girl named Jess (Jacobs) is walking alone in a forest, holding a dog-lead, although there is no dog in sight. She is approached by an unknown woman named Nicky (Bailey) who proceeds to have a conversation with her. It is revealed that Jess is being the victim of bullying and Nicky, who has been through terrible experiences herself as a combat medic at war, has been sent by acquaintances in order to help her.
This short is a powerful drama that explores emotional trauma, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder, war trauma and bullying, including online bullying. It effectively presents two individuals who are suffering due to distressing experiences. The narrative focuses mainly on the encounter between Jess and Nicky and it includes flashbacks of Jess being bullied and Nicky engaging the enemy during combat. The flashbacks depict the devastating events both of them have gone through rather vividly and it is vey moving watching them share their feelings with each other. There are also scenes of air ambulance doctors and paramedics arriving at an isolated location in the countryside, where a tragic event has taken place.
Both leads deliver very strong performances. Jacobs is quite emotional as a troubled youngster who is tormented by constant bullying and has become fragile and angry as a result. Bailey is great as kind-hearted war veteran who believes she can help the young girl with her problems as she is facing demons of her own.
The mise-en-scene is rather impressive and includes emergency vehicles. Particular praise goes to the combat scenes, which create the feeling of being stuck in the middle of a hellish situation. Composer Sian Elizabeth Selway develops a dramatic score that adds significant value and the cinematography by Lily Grimes and Ed White looks beautiful.
This film is an emotional journey that is very well made and superbly acted. It raises awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder, bullying and mental health issues and encourages people who are experiencing similar problems as the protagonists to reach out for help.