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average rating is 4 out of 5


Chris Olson


Posted on:

Sep 29, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Neer Musa Shelter
Written by:
Neer Musa Shelter
Joy Reiger, Carmel Bin, Carlos Gharzuzi

Never before has the “truth” been so elusive than in the modern age we find ourselves in. The irony that we have the ability to record our surroundings at any given moment using a handy device that nearly everyone has in their pocket, has actually led to a complete distrust of the facts we are presented with and often leads to a cacophony of conflicting opinions from anyone who decides to jump into the fray.

Filmmaker Neer Musa Shelter’s nerve-wracking short film Perspectives sees a solder (Joy Reiger) and her partner (Carmel Bin) have their pleasant bus ride disrupted when a man (Carlos Gharzuzi) gets on and gives the impression of being a bit strange - he’s wearing a jacket in summer and won’t stop staring at the couple. As the tension gets too much for our soldier, she raises her gun at the passenger and must decide what to do whilst a plethora of smartphones captures the action on live streams.

A boiling pot of a short film, Perspectives delivers an exhausting yet thrilling visual experience for the audience. From the intense central performance by Reiger to the onslaught of pinging notifications and mobile phone sounds, it’s a film that relishes in making the viewer uncomfortable whilst throwing them into a compelling story based on true events. The simple use of the bus location for the majority of the film was reminiscent of the classic action Speed (1994) starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, with interior shots feeling intimate and the CCTV feeling cold and dangerous.

It’s powerful to note the reactions of the other passengers on the bus. They mostly grab their phones and start to record the intense standoff between our soldier and the man. At one point, the bus is stopped and the soldier has him at gunpoint, instead of panic and pandemonium, the passengers seem to debate what the world will think of her. Eagle-eyed viewers will be able to note the surprise ending but the door is still very much left open to interpretation as to the real intentions behind our stranger getting on the bus that day.

The filmmakers intended to present something that made it hard to separate fact from fiction and this creates a fantastic space for the story to operate. Capturing the immediacy and potency of social media in such a cinematic way is difficult but with the short film Perspectives, it doesn’t feel gimmicky. Instead, the movie feels like a taut thriller that makes us question the varying angles we are shown into the events unfolding and explores how difficult it is to really know the motives and intentions of anyone without really experiencing them first-hand.

About the Film Critic
Chris Olson
Chris Olson
Short Film, World Cinema, LGBTQ+
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