Promise Me (2015) short film review

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A touching short drama that tackles the subject of losing a parent, we review Kevin Machate’s latest film, Promise Me.

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Having already seen and reviewed a short by director Kevin Machate before, we had already come to expect a polished production with great performances, and that is exactly what we received. Unlike his previous short #RIP (click here for that review), Promise Me is not a comedy but a short touching drama; with Machate showing he is more than capable in a multitude of genres.

Promise Me tells the story of Stella (Gayland Williams), an elderly lady who has come to the end of her life due to being struck by an unnamed disease. She sits on a sofa with her young granddaughter whilst going through old photograph albums, waiting for the arrival of her son, Owen (Craig Nigh).

PromiseMePosterForPublicity 682x1024 Promise Me (2015) short film reviewAlthough it is never said, the dialogue implies that Stella wants to end her life so to be free from the pain she has been suffering and she wants Owen to assist her. The only problem being, Owen is having trouble coming to terms with the situation and doubts he can go ahead with the assisted suicide.

Coming in at a little over eight minutes in length, Promise Me throws us straight into the situation and we become a fly-on-the-wall – observing the pain of a family; one that many families have to go through every day.

Promise Me is a well shot and well lit film. It looks nice throughout and it’s easy to see that a lot of time and effort was spent in preparing the shots and in grading the film in post production. The sound is also perfect, with no dips in quality at all.

Where Promise Me really shines though is in the writing. Where many short films fail, Promise Me doesn’t rely on exposition or unlikely and unnecessary dialogue. Things are kept sweet and moving. Machate captures the torment of caring son and the regrets of a dying woman perfectly. It’s all very heartfelt and realistic.

If you take the excellent production achievements and add in the strong performances by the cast members, what you get is a great short drama and one that many will be able to relate to. We fully expect Promise Me to pick up some awards at festivals this year and Machate’s star begins to shine even brighter.

4 / 5 stars     

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