Alcohol really can destroy lives, as witnessed in Jacob Thompson and Christian Hutchins’ new short film Not For Me. We review the short after the jump.
Some writers and directors like to explain everything to the audience; it doesn’t matter how minor the detail in the plot is, they will likely tell all as if talking to a small child. Some writers and directors like to leave much to the audience’s imagination, which in turn leads to the viewer’s participation in the event itself. This is still why we don’t know for certain what was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction, nor do we know how to use the three seashells from Demolition Man. Both Jacob Thompson and Christian Hutchins, who take up co-directing duties, have opted to go the way of the latter with their new short film Not For Me.
The film starts with a man (played by Joseph Shaver) being troubled by a home invasion courtesy of a man in a white mask. The man awakes to find himself still in work where he is then tormented by a few people in the same white mask as earlier. This is sort of like Inception with its dream-within-a dream scenario, but the story then takes a huge 180-degree turn. What we originally thought was going to be a pseudo-horror film turns into a drama about alcohol abuse and the breakdown of a relationship. It really caught me off guard, and to top it off, Thompson and Hutchins never explain what actually went on. Why the crazy dreams? Is he drinking because of them or are the dreams a result of his drinking? Where they actually memories and not dreams? Nothing is for certain.
The screenplay, which is also from Jacob Thompson, is rather smart and the dialogue seems natural throughout. The real issues boil down to the technical problems; imagery going really soft and out of focus and the lighting and cinematography aren’t great. The sound isn’t fantastic either, with major issues with the wind during external scenes, when a simple dead cat could have been used. One can’t help but wonder how much better Not For Me would have been if a little more time, effort and care had been put into production.
Still, some parts of the short twenty six minute film are inspired. Thompson and Hutchins don’t go down the simple storytelling route. It seems they want to do things their own way and have their own voice, something which is hard to come by and deserves applause.
Not For Me is a decent idea but suffers in its execution. Both Thompson and Hutchins show much promise though and I’m sure they will improve with each creation.