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average rating is 3 out of 5


Swati Verma


Posted on:

Nov 3, 2022

Film Reviews
Directed by:
James Clubb, Liam Steers
Written by:
James Clubb
Cal Jones, John Bulwich

The title of the short film Scratch can refer to the loss of peace and sadness due to unpleasant experiences that the protagonist Cal Jones is trying to recover from. The writer-director James Clubb and Liam Steers carefully build the script around the complexities of the brain and its long-term effect on the self as well as the people around.


The plot of the cinematic piece revolves around two strangers (Cal Jones and John Bulwich) who are tied together in a situation with a mix of luck and destiny which proves to be a life-changing event for both of them.


The nonlinear narrative style of storytelling is adapted by the filmmaker to give a sense of drama and thrill to the audience and to keep them hooked to the content. The short film opens with a black screen with a phone conversation which helps set up the tone of the creative piece and also establishes the subject matter of the movie. A series of transition shots and well-written, incorporated flashbacks to provide the required intensity and allow the viewers to learn from the film. The black-and-white colour palette, lighting, music, dialogue, costume, hair, and makeup complement the continuity and flow of the psychological thriller/drama Scratch.


In the performance department, Cal Jones who plays the protagonist wants to live a normal life but a traumatic happening in the recent past keeps revisiting him with continuous disturbing thoughts. Jones depicts the internal, external, and emotional struggles to achieve some degree of normalcy as well as stability. The body language, eyes, and facial expressions are on fleek to communicate the emotional support he craves from his wife/girlfriend Lucy but rather opts for depending on alcohol.

John Bulwich plays the role of a beggar who is a firm believer in luck, fate, and destiny. Bulwich portrays the stubborn and angry attitude of the character efficiently showcasing and strengthening the conflict of the storyline of the film, therefore assisting in maintaining the suspense and thrill in the climax of the film.


Scratch reiterates the fact that every individual has their luck, fate, and destiny in life and just needs to wait for the right time to achieve what they want. The short film teaches the audience that true friends and family can help them emerge from every problem and they shouldn’t take their loved ones for granted. The piece also talks about life giving people the option of being strong and courageous to deal with it as one cannot delete the bad experiences and only enjoy the good days. The movie discusses the importance of the strength of the mind to keep oneself happy and healthy despite all the hardships thrown at us by life. Scratch also highlights and warns the viewers of the harmful effects bad habits like smoking, alcoholism and using your phone too much can cause and advises them to keep a check on these for a better future.


I appreciate the efforts of the filmmakers in keeping an open ending so that the audience can interpret the story as per their understanding rather than restricting them to confine the thought process.

About the Film Critic
Swati Verma
Swati Verma
Short Film
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