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Shear Disturbance

average rating is 3 out of 5


James Learoyd


Posted on:

Mar 26, 2024

Film Reviews
Shear Disturbance
Directed by:
Nate Reynolds
Written by:
Nate Reynolds
Devon Grevious, Nate Reynolds, Tyler McCray

Shear Disturbance is an original and intelligent new short film, although not without its fair share of issues. Told quite subjectively, it presents a distressed main character who goes in for a haircut – a thing he dreads. It’s made clear through the hectic nature of the camera, the protagonist’s thoughts, and the performance itself that there are deeper, psychological issues at play.


The strongest element of the film is the script – namely, its perceptive use of theme. Despite a slightly comedic edge, created by the tone of the performances and the expressiveness of the form, one feels that the film’s discussion of anxiety comes from a sincere place. In terms of the story, a lot of great decisions were made regarding the specific situation the protagonist is placed in that can best demonstrate the nuances of his internal fears and conflicts. With a few skillful performances in addition to an inspired setup, it’s enjoyable to watch along with the turns it chooses to take, and this isn’t so common a subject for a short film.


The way in which Shear Disturbance has been shot will be distracting for some. This is due to the automatic settings on the camera. Use of auto-focus results in a strange digital shuddering back and forth when the camera doesn’t know what to focus on; and use of auto-exposure results in sporadic, unnatural light fading in and out. The look of this film would have benefited immensely from a more considered use of aperture and focus. A great many shots have a pleasant look about them, so you can sense that the filmmakers are not far from achieving a higher level of technical cinematography – for independent filmmakers operating a camera alone, it takes some time and practice working a lens in this way, but it’s worth it when searching for smoother results.


Unfortunately, this picture can be described as having been ‘over-edited’ - a strange term, perhaps, although valuable to consider when it comes to post-production. In a regularly paced, linear scene of dialogue, there will often be shots focusing on a character that lasts but half a second... one doesn’t really want to tell filmmakers how to make their films, but this shouldn’t really happen unless it’s for a reason. If some of the coverage had been given more breathing room, a moment for our eyes to simply rest on our subject as they speak, we would pay closer attention to the content of the dialogue and the scenario our characters are in.


Viewers will be moved by the piece’s candid sentiment. Whilst the ending may be, for some, a little too didactic, many will find it quite touching. The content of the character’s journey is born from clever writing that feels learned and optimistic. As discussed, present are various problems, though what the filmmakers clearly possess, first and foremost, is the ability to tell an empathetic story; one that we as the audience can either relate to or sympathise with -- the technical stuff can come later.

About the Film Critic
James Learoyd
James Learoyd
Short Film
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