24 May 2015 | bob the moo
The incredibly tight focus on the moment is a little limiting at times, but also makes it work very well
A couple in a hotel room seem to be doing some form of role-play together, trying to both recapture a time when they were first together and live was so much easier for both.
I will not pretend to totally get all of this short film, because it seems like there is almost deliberately so little outside of the room, that it can be a little hard to catch the significance or context of every small piece, but at the same time this is part of the appeal. Shot entirely in one room, the film stays very close to the moment and to the characters, as the fun times in the hotel room reveal themselves to be something of more emotional weight, and then later reveals different layers for the two characters. Not all of the story outside of the room comes across well, but we get enough to understand some of the small frustrations and feelings that the characters reveal. This is particularly true of Jessica, as we learn more of her life and what she is looking for out of this.
It is shot really well considering the confines of the room, although technically I found the sound quality to be much more impressive as it was crisp, intimate and very clean in terms of what we hear. The performances are where the film exists though. D'Amour is good, but for me it is May that stands out the most as she has the most to do – both with words, and also with unspoken moments which play out on her face or body language. Her performance is rewarded by a camera that is close enough that it is able to capture even the small moments.
It is such a small and folded-in film that I suspect it will put as many off as it engages; the very tight focus on the couple in that moment does limit how much context we get, but at the same time I think the tight view makes it much more engaging, as small things suggest a lot, and ultimately we find a lot of emotional weight and baggage placed onto this one moment for the two people. It is the intimacy of this that makes it work.