Oct 18, 2023
Angelo Perez Lebbink
Angelo Perez Lebbink
Karim El Guennouni, Meriyem Manders, Jihane el Fahidi, Abdenbi Azzaoui
Beautifully shot short-film Flash/Crash from writer/director Angelo Perez Lebbink follows the story of struggling drug-addict Brahim (El Guennouni) trying to seek forgiveness for his past mistakes amidst the murky world of human trafficking rings and underworld crime.
It's a film that constructs its narrative well and looks to present its story in an interesting way, a story it must be said is helpfully buoyed throughout by a commanding lead performance from El Guennouni and an equally laudable turn from Meriyem Manders. Moving back and forth between the past (where we start to understand who Brahim was) and the present (where we start to see the situation that that past has led him to), the films plot has enough there to certainly spark curiosity, but over the twelve-minute runtime, it's all in relatively broad strokes, and what we are left unclear of really at the end is the how and why of it all, which is where Flash/Crash falls a bit short.
The film raises a lot of interesting narrative questions but provides a bit less in the way of answers. It transpires that Flash/Crash is indeed part of a short-film crime trilogy including #Naima (who we know here from Brahim’s past) and Exit S106, both of which centre around similar themes in terms of self-harm and trafficking, a trio of films that together could give the audience a much deeper understanding of what’s going on here. But judged as a standalone offering, it’s a shame that Flash/Crash does feel at times like there are integral story pieces missing that would allow viewers to really get into what seems to be a very intriguing tale.
Yes, some character motivations are unclear, and backstories are touched upon but ultimately feel a bit shallow. However, it must be said that the two main performances from El Guennouni and Manders do fantastically well with the films tidy script to convey such a punch of emotion in their scenes together that the film will at least allow you to feel the essence of the story, even if some of the specific details are missing. And Lebbink, along with a clearly talented cinematographer in Gijs Roodhart, not only knows how to make a film look visually compelling, but how to make their characters compelling too.
Deservedly a winner of a number of accolades, Flash/Crash whets the appetite enough with some handy camerawork and strong character performances that one might just want to go and seek out the rest of the story.