24 May 2015 | bob the moo
Still, emotive and beautifully shot statement
The US has an election coming up (when doesn't it?) and you know that the adverts will come showing "real Americans" working in the countryside, standing and smiling next to their red barns, and other such Americana imagery which feeds nostalgia in a way that you almost have to now. This short film counters that nicely with a story of an aging farmer (the average age of farmers in the US is 60, we are told); he has no generation below him to hand this to, so although he continues working, it is as much because he knows nothing else as opposed to the "building a family" approach of those before him. It is a factor I guess fairly common across the Western world – for sure where I am from, which is pretty rural, I can think of more sons/daughters who moved away rather than took over the family farms.
This short film sets this out very well and, just in case the viewer brings any sense of sentiment to the table, Looms gets rid of that immediately with a very practical but impacting opening sequence of necessity. From here it moves a quite a meditative pace, but it draws on this by using the landscape and providing a feeling of emptiness; not of loneliness (which is simpler emotionally) but more of a total void, of nothing really laying ahead for the main character. This visual sense of barren whiteness and space is matched by a solidly rugged performance from Murphy; it is not that he has big moments to deliver, but rather than he inhabits the character convincingly, so you do very much get a feel for his thoughts and life from watching his face and movements. It is not a tear-jerking – it is emotive more than emotional, but it works very well and has the space, emptiness, and uncertainty of the place, the profession and the person.