Mar 24, 2022
Mia Lacostena, Kit Reeve, Jamie Hawes
NEW TO UK FILM REVIEW
Critics Chris Olson and Brian Penn host UK Film Club - a new film podcast covering all film types. From blockbusters to old favourites and even indie & shorts.
Of all the suspicious things to find when you sit down in the back of a taxi, a bag full of money is at least one of the more hygienic. But as we find in Renzo Vasquez’ short film Trigger, sometimes dangerous temptations have unexpected risks.
Hannah (Mia Lacostena) and Claire (Kit Reeve) take a taxi home after a night out. The pair discover that a rucksack filled with money has been left in the back seat. Claire is suspicious of how the cash got there, and wants to ring the police. But Hannah demands they keep it for themselves. When driver Mick (Jamie Hawes) overhears their conversation, he has his own questions – and the motivations of all three are thrown into question as the situation spills out of hand.
Trigger is a tense and fast-paced short thriller that excels in its presentation of a classic moral quandary, yet remains unpredictable until the very end. The sense of danger created by director Renzo Vasquez leaves audience’s hearts pounding, as each character’s motives are explored and more and more questions arise around the money at the story’s centre. The conflict between Hannah and Claire, and then the taxi driver, arises naturally throughout much of the film, and the foreboding sense of a breaking point stalks the story until every movement feels like it could cause an explosion.
The film does take something of a downturn towards its conclusion. Without giving too much away, there is a twist in the tale which fits the story and is well prepared, however certain character’s behaviours following this seem not to make much sense. They do not follow a course of action to what their presumed motives would imply, and a conflict between them feels noticeably manufactured compared to the natural and logical storytelling in the earlier parts of the story.
The cast are fantastic, with excellent chemistry between Mia Lacostena and Kit Reeve which suggests a long-established but troubled friendship, that devolves into serious confrontation when presented with a difficult moral conundrum. There is clear depth to each of the women, and the sense that they are hiding their true selves from one another is paramount to the audience’s discomfort. Jamie Hawes is brilliantly cast as a typical London cabbie on a regular night’s work – but leaves just enough ambiguity in his performance to makes his presence unnerving.
London is wonderfully realised – even from the back of a cab – by high-quality production and inventive visual storytelling. The lights of the city giving way to the unlit suburbs marks for a telling tonal shift, as the story literally and figuratively gets darker. The positioning of the camera in the early scenes gives the impression that the viewers are sat opposite the women in the cab, bringing the audience into their situation effectively. And the manner in which the film plays with audience expectations is served well by the story’s presentation of Mick – you’d be surprised how threatening the back of someone’s head can feel…
At just 9 minutes, Trigger is an outstanding and enthralling short that packs in an incredible level of thrills and tension. Some late plot hiccups aside, it is an excellent example of succinct filmmaking, maximising the potential of every frame.