The Night Out
2 Dec 2021
Nicole Boucher, Tess Rianne Sullivan, Michael Alexander
On the eve of Claire’s eighteenth birthday, her closest friend Mona plans to take the rather excited, yet anxious, teenager out for the evening. Although it seems all-too-simple, as the night unfolds and the two begin to drink to celebrate, a much darker and more sinister undertone to the story is revealed. Written and directed by Jordan Burbank, The Night Out is a brief yet compelling film about two young women confronting the reality of a big and uncomfortable world.
In a true Thelma and Louise style, Claire and Mona have a ‘ride or die’ companionship that make the chemistry between them more loving whilst also revealing their contrasting personalities. Despite both being small town country girls, Mona is wild unlike Claire who is more naïve and innocent. In such a short space of time, the viewer is able to get such a large sense of their individual characters. The joy at the start of the film, where they are each elated to see where life takes them on the precipice of adulthood is palpable. Their friendship remains the primary catalyst for the film as they drive to a motel to celebrate and we are taken on a chaotic yet bold journey – until the unthinkable happens.
A simple yet effective plot avoids being basic due to its effective way of storytelling, as most of the substance is contained in what is said as well as unsaid. Long silences filled with dread are carefully executed, with the camera-making deliberately slow to build drama. This compares to the careful aerial shots of the small-town world containing the young women, which are beautiful and also eerie. They contribute to the overall disorienting feel of the film and convey no real sense of time or place. The intelligence in this allows the viewer to slip into a false sense of security. When something sinister happens suddenly, the gradual build of the film later reveals that it had in fact been building the entire time.
Fun and yet foreboding, The Night Out is a true example of excellent filmmaking within the short film genre. With the importance of young women being made to confront the dangers of the real world as they reach adulthood, this directorial debut by Jordan Burbank is sure to strike a chord with anyone who watches it.