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One More Minute

average rating is 4 out of 5


Chris Olson


Posted on:

Sep 30, 2023

Film Reviews
One More Minute
Directed by:
Srishti Chhabria
Written by:
Baltasar Cuellar
Nadia Nadarajah, Elliot Cable, Bhasker Patel

Playing with the audience’s sensory experience of cinema, much like 2019’s Sound of Metal, filmmaker Srishti Chhabria’s short film One More Minute is an explosive ten minutes of film. Starring Nadia Nadarajah as a deaf shopkeeper called Arianna, the film sees her held at gunpoint during a robbery that escalates as decisions are made and heroic deeds lead to tragedy.

This is powerful filmmaking. The robbery plot alone would have been tense enough to spark tension with a viewer. This in collaboration with the sensory deprivation of only being able to hear what limited snippets Arianna can garner through her hearing aid leads to a full-on panic attack of a film. Every moment is curated to feel like something is going to move out of the corner of our frame and surprise us and the cast’s frenetic and palpable performances are riveting, enriching the experience even further.

Chhabria, fuelled by Balthasar Cuellar’s story, builds a great foundation for the audience. We see the friendly chemistry between Arianna and her coworkers and regular customers, giving us a sense of ease following the rather bloody intro credits. The stakes are raised when Arianna removes cash from the register and walks to the back of the store, where we vaguely hear someone coming into the shop and threatening the staff. From there, the entire short film builds into pressure-cooker filmmaking that is unrelenting in its tension and remorseless with its storyline.

Heroism and villainy are at the heart of these types of stories and it is wonderful to see an underrepresented protagonist given such a strong role. Nadarajah excels as the fierce and kind store owner, giving the audience a kick-ass lead to get behind (and hope for the best, to be honest). Our villains are sketched lightly, without any backstory or profiling being given, this only enhances the sense of random dread and perturbation that we feel throughout the majority of the piece.

One More Minute takes some classic elements (one location, a simple “hold up” plot right out of a Western) and throws them into a modern setting well. It’s the crucial addition of our lead character’s disability that elevates this into something noteworthy. Not because of (much-needed) representation, but because of what this does to the viewer. We are thrown into a unique visual and audial experience that is palpably disconcerting, that even the hardiest of thriller fans has unlikely witnessed anything like this on screen.

About the Film Critic
Chris Olson
Chris Olson
Short Film
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