An author of thriller novels is woken in the night by a telephone call from a journalist who says he has a story for him and wants to arrange a meeting in the short film Grau.
Here we have a debut short film from budding writer and director Akshay Padmanaba and his production company 16mm Productions. Grau is a short two-handed thriller, and though it does have its issues, it all shows some potential from the team behind creating it.
A successful writer of thriller novels, Richard Thomson (played by Pritheev Senthilkumar) is woken in the middle of the night when is phone starts ringing. The caller states that he is a journalist with a story that he will be interested in, and asks Richard to meet him at a restaurant in Redfields the next day.
Though he isn’t really interested in meeting the journalist, his interest is piqued when Richard’s agent reminds him of an upcoming party at the very same place. So, he makes his way to the restaurant and sits down with his late-night caller. Only, the late-night caller isn’t really a journalist and he isn’t there in order to have a chat about a potential story. So not to spoil anything, that’s all we will say about the plot.
For a two-location, two-header, Grau is an interesting short film with an intriguing plot. The story is very well crafted and would make for a great feature thriller if expanded upon. It has a lot of potential. Imagine a cat-and-mouse thriller with twists at every turn through a 90-minute runtime. I’d buy a ticket for that.
As a short film, Grau has a lot going for it, but, as mentioned above, it does have its issues. The main being with the sound. I’m not sure if any sound was recorded on set, or if it turned out to be unusable, but ADR is used throughout the 15-minutes. ADR, for those of you who are not up-to-speed on technical jargon, is sound recorded in post-production and placed on top of the visuals already shot. This causes many issues with syncing sound to the actors’ lip movements. Also, the short contains a lot of foley work with no room tone, it does take you out the overall enjoyment of the piece.
The camera work is decent, with some great-looking shots throughout with smart lighting, but the 180-degree rule is ignored a lot during the dinner conversation scene. Of course, the 180-degree rule can be just a guideline and you don’t necessarily have to stick with it if you are being imaginative with your shots, but for a table conversation scene, I think it’s essential.
The two actors, Senthilkumar and Jeffrey Nathaniel (as Gerald/The Journalist), do quite well with their performances, and the dialogue is nicely written.
Grau is a short film that I feel had a lot of potentials and, if it weren’t for the sound and camera issues, I feel it could have been really excellent. Still, it shows promise and, if they can avoid the same mistakes next time, I feel the team at 16mm Productions could very well knock it out of the park.
PS. Nice Tarantino-inspired end credits. They were very Pulp Fiction/Jackie Brown-like.