Aug 15, 2022
Francis Ryan, David Kara
The title of the short film-The Assignment has a yellow font colour on the poster symbolizing betrayal and madness. The writer-director James Cunningham builds up the script around the idea of possessing the ability to think like a killer if one wants to catch them without failing. Cunningham also wants to pay a tribute to the slasher genre via the suspenseful and thrilling content of the film and through the two leading men Leo (Francis Ryan) and Harrison (David Kara)
The plot of the cinematic piece revolves around two friends studying together at the university in Melbourne Australia who receive a unique assignment as a part of their studies in criminal psychology which has the power to change the dynamics between them.
The Cinematographer Lukas Yannoutsos uses a series of long shots to capture the beauty of the modern Australian setting in the opening sequence of the film along with the background music. The wide shot shows both Leo and Harrison running towards the house and the police sound in the background to establish the subject matter of the film. By doing this Yannoutsos ensures that the audience is completely involved with The Assignment all through the running time of the thriller. The black-white colour palette, set design, lighting, dialogues, costume, and make-up are effectively utilized to create the contrast between the two characters so that the viewers understand the narrative and emotionally connect with the drama to ultimately decide what side they want to be on. The mid-shots are followed by the camera tracking Leo as the conversation proceeds as it intensifies the sense of fear, mystery, and thrill.
Francis Ryan plays Leo who is a smart and practical person out of the two friends. He wants to complete the task at hand efficiently and effectively. Ryan portrays a casual yet mindful body language. The dialogues delivered by the young actor aptly complement the character arc of Leo and the slasher genre.
David Kara plays the character of Harrison who is more inclined towards emotions and he had to pay a price for it later in the film. Kara depicts the innocent and vulnerable side of Harrison with how he moulds himself as per the requirement of the script.
The Assignment sheds light on choosing the right set of friends who can help one grow in every aspect of life. The short film teaches its audience that in some situations the viewers need to be strong in terms of the mind and the heart, people shouldn’t get an opportunity to cause harm in any way possible. This drama also spreads awareness about not ignoring the obvious signs of danger. The thriller also advises the parents to maintain a loving relationship so that the elders could help children enjoy a bright future and not fall prey to any bad habits. The short film reiterates the fact that change is the only constant and one has to continuously switch with the newest modification in the social surroundings. The movie subtly touches upon the dark side of human psychology/ mental illness, the issue that needs to be discussed more often to enable people to fight the inner devil and not give in to the world of violence and bloodshed.
In my opinion, James Cunningham allows the audience to explore and think about further possibilities of defining a hypothetical perfect murder as Cunningham has cleverly planned the climax to make it more engaging for the viewers. As an ardent viewer of short films, I felt the requirement of subtitles in certain scenes in the film as the delivery of dialogues picks up pace especially when the cinematic piece comes closer to its ending.