Feb 11, 2022
Rowland Brand, Heidi Rochford, Clare Louise Harris, Sacha Grimstead
A grief-stricken widower is on the brink of life and death. With his life in his own hands, it appears that the pain he is feeling and the revenge he lusts for might just help him save, not only his own life, but the lives of others.
The Stranger (2006) was the first short film project by director and writer Jamie Montgomery, his works also include the short film ‘Chain Mail’. The film introduces the audience to the horrifying murder of Karen (Heidi Rochford) with the sense of injustice and disgust towards her killer at the forefront from the outset. As she goes about her normal day, a hooded figure assaults her, ultimately ending the life of who appeared to be a very innocent victim.
The story progresses to show what was left behind after her death, Vincent (Rowland Brand), her grief stricken husband. Here, the tale of revenge begins. A distressing depiction of, former police detective, Vincent’s pain is conveyed to the audience with great power. As he holds a gun to his chin reminiscing about his late wife and her unsolved murder, Vincent is on the brink of ending his own life. As Vincent takes to the street to place a rose at the site of his wifes death, there is a strong sense of anger as he barges his way along the pavements. Upon placing the rose, Vincent hears calls of distress form a lady (Claire Louise Harris), being sexually assaulted by a group of thugs. Talk about right place at the right time. As Vincent did not pull the trigger to end his own life, he now is fronted with an opportunity to save another life in the same day.
Vincent approaches the thugs and ignores their calls for him to leave, filled with anger, rage and despair his former police training comes into action as he prepares to fight the four thugs. The newly turned vigilante disarms, and defeats the thugs saving the victim from further assault. Vincent stands above a thug, laying on the floor helpless, with a chance to kill him and truly get his revenge. However, he does not take this opportunity, chucking the weapon away not letting himself sink to the level of the thugs.
Rowland Brand, in the time of a ten minute film, is able to take the audience on Vincents’ journey of despair. The pain he feels is clear, the anger as he walks through the streets and the sadness as he lays the rose. Yet, the most powerful emotion and characteristic that Vincent shows to the audience is his sense of good, his sense of justice as he sees mercy for the thugs and follows his true morals. Rowland Brand was exceptional as Vincent, this cannot be argued. Claire Louise Harris, playing the victim, also gives a throughly convincing performance with the relief clear as Vincent gives justice to the thugs. The fighting sequences of the film must not go without mention, the Fight Choreographer (Mary Albanese) has created a climactic fight scene that, for a low budget, independent film, is outstanding and would not be out of place in a higher budget and scale production. Furthermore, the musical production to exaggerate the sense of pain and the chaos in Vincents mind is executed excellently.
With the writing of Jamie Montgomery, and the support of the strong cast, ‘The Stranger’ is undoubtably a very credible example of a tense, gripping and dark short film. ‘The Stranger’ is an extremely powerful origin story for the character of Vincent, a character and back story that could go far.