Wednesday, 15 April 2020

FILM REVIEW: Look / Listen - View Shift Productions

Look/Listen, the latest short film from View Shift Productions, tells the story of Jake, a young man recently diagnosed with a degenerative brain condition which affects his hearing and sight. With his eyes open, all Jake can hear is a faint noise which becomes clear when he closes his eyes. While this narrative device may seem somewhat contrived, it is rendered believable due to the film’s high production values and skilful direction.

After being told by his doctor that he requires surgery and that only one of his senses can be saved, Jake along with his girlfriend Emily, embarks on a series of trips around the city as he struggles to choose between his sight and hearing. Together they visit the cinema, music shops and record stores as Jake struggles to decide which sense to sacrifice.

The film dangerously flirts with romantic clichés during these scenes, as the young lovers’ hands touch over the piano keys or exchange coy glances over stacks of vinyl. However, the film succeeds in conveying Jake’s predicament through its cinematography and sound design. The muffled sound design clears as the pictures slowly lose focus, giving the viewer an effective insight into the protagonists’ deteriorating senses. The moments between the couple become more bittersweet as the film reminds the viewer through these techniques that Jake’s ability to fully experience these moments is rapidly slipping away from him.

The choice to part the couple midway through the film is an apt one, as it allows the focus to shift to Jake’s increasingly lonely world as his condition progresses. However, the performances by the two likable leads prevent the tone from becoming too morose, despite the weighty themes depicted. Finally, the film refuses to provide an answer as to whether Jake ultimately made the right choice. Instead it allows the audience the space to consider what decision they would make were they in Jake’s situation.

Reviewer - Richard Gorick
on - 14/4/20

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