8 Sep 2021
Lieke Witteveen, Aristo Mijnals, Eelco Renes Natasja Hurenkamp-van Bussel, Jade Hurenkamp, Jaden Kadijk
We’ve all been there, the bad day. Where everything seems to going to hell all at once, too many plates spinning out of control and each moment simply welcoming more and more problems which just keep adding up and up and up. Until there’s that one little thing that just pushes us ever so gently over the edge and we lash out, often at those who deserve it the least.
We’ve all been there. Such a relatable concept has been and will be fertile ground for a plethora of films of all shapes and sizes. Now, Dutch filmmaker Harvey Kadijk looks to use said premise to follow up his remarkable 2020 short film Dion with his latest offering Outcome, where youth worker Gabriel (Witteveen) is one such unfortunate soul whose miserable day just won’t end, culminating in that aforementioned breaking point of no return. But just when things seem at their worst, an unexpected encounter looks to change things around.
As fertile as such ground may be, the finished article that is Outcome struggles to really grow much if at all from it. While technically quite sound, the film unfortunately finds itself lacking in how it tells it story in that, it simply doesn’t, at least not in any interesting way. There are very clever uses of framing here, most of the film is spent focusing solely on the expressions of Gabriel’s tired exasperations, and Witteveen does a commendable job getting across as much emotion as she can, but this is really the only entry point we have in our attempts to connect with this character, the film relies on this and her far too heavily to try and get us invested and without anything else to go on, we simply can’t.
There are snippets of phone calls and pained looks that the film tries to offer in terms of context but these simply aren’t enough for us to understand exactly what walls are crumbling down in Gabriel’s world. We know Gabriel is having a bad day, but never why or what it all really means for her in her life, what the stakes for her are, meaning not only can we not begin to sympathise, we can’t really begin to understand either which is a problem when she finally snaps at one of the youths in her charge, a point where it seems the film is asking us to do just that.
It’s not until a clumsy exposition dump right towards the end that we get any real insight into her situation, where Gabriel and fellow sufferer Noah (introduced by a rather unconvincing petty rage/tantrum) spend a rather stale couple of minutes, which is a lot of real estate considering the films ten-minute runtime, swapping calamities and repeatedly acknowledging that they both have indeed had bad days, before being swept away on the waves of a very rushed meet-cute. Finally, we get some answers but by then it’s simply too late.
While the technical aspects of the film might be on point, Outcome unfortunately doesn’t do justice to the storytelling capabilities that shone through in Dion, resulting in a short that seems rushed and lacking in depth.