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average rating is 4 out of 5


Amber Jackson


Posted on:

Oct 10, 2022

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Julia Varvara
Written by:
Callum McGowan and Adam Morse
Gary Beadle, Gary Mavers, Rayna Campbell

Suppression is a short film situating an emotionally damaged psychoanalyst who is forced to confront a murderer who has been detained in a correctional facility. Described by others as very sick and beyond help, John Burns seeks to get to the route of criminal Max’s supposed crimes. However, as the two men speak more frequently, John is unwillingly forced to confront his own demons once Max begins to crawl under his skin. Both bleak and belligerent, Julia Varvara’s recent short film feels all-knowing as it deals with questions of life and faith and the connection between the two.


Atmosphere is a crucial element of this film and Varvara’s direction is fantastic in ensuring that the look and feel of this short is overwhelming and bleak. Tension between John and Max is consistently built up over the nineteen minutes we watch them within the dingy prison walls. Dark and gloomy camera shots of rain lapping at the window and pregnant pauses in an engaging script contrast well with the intense conversations held across tables. The intensity is electric as we feel as though we are stood in the room, with artistic shots zooming in on each character so as to entirely access their vulnerability. We can read every thought and emotion on John and Max’s faces which is a testament to both the direction of the film and their stellar performances.


Gary Beadle gives an amazingly raw performance as a broken man just trying to do his best to survive. His character, John, struggles to connect with his wife and his increasing discomfort is attributed to warped criminal Max forcing him to question his purpose and existence. John appears to be at a crossroads and Max appeals to an insecurity or weakness in him and therefore leaves him fearful. Max himself claims to be a God-fearing Angel from Heaven and confronts John about sin, rejection and debates surrounding personal faith and God’s intended plan. This film boldly pits two very different men against each other to ask these philosophical questions, along with the worry of taking loved ones for granted. As Max continually attempts to blur the lines between doctor and patient, and as John becomes increasingly more frustrated, viewers are sucked into a waiting game as hostility and suspense threaten to leave us guessing.


With its content is bleak and hateful, as well as pensive, Suppression could be construed as a difficult film to place or categorise. However, it does seem to offer some consolation with the challenging topics it confronts and for that reason, along with some excellent acting, it is worth a watch.

About the Film Critic
Amber Jackson
Amber Jackson
Short Film
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