After being psychologically tortured by guilt, a man faces a very hard decision between life or death.
Written By: Eugene Rodriguez
Directed By: Eugene Rodriguez
At first I wasn't quite sure what to make of Eugene Rodriguez's short film "Las Nenas De Papá (Daddy's Girls)". I'm always game for a stylish indie, but being completely honest, the first bit of the film made things a little tough to get into. Once the initial scene passed over, I was captivated for a short time by this title. The sad story and unusual wrap-up (no spoilers here) were quite entertaining, a credit to Eugene's skills both in front of and behind the camera. "Las Nenas De Papá" left me with a sinking feeling as the credits began to roll, and a complete understanding of the actual plot, in the jumble of strange but entertaining images I had just viewed. Writing that this short film is the next big Oscar winner would be foolish, but denying that something is here, that captivated me... would be an outright lie.
The biggest elements of concern were mainly post-production issues, and not what you'd probably expect. It wasn't an issue with quality, rather quantity. First off, I really hate the "shaky cam" look. It's a huge zit on independent film. Essentially, "Las Nenas De Papá" is one massive hand-held movie, for the most part anyhow. With the cost and tech behind filmmaking now days, this Blair Witch style should be extinct! It doesn't do a filmmaker any favors. But, with that said, the shaky styled camera actually helped push the narrative along. In this case anyway. "Las Nenas De Papá" comes across as a gritty reality based drama. Much to the credit of Eugene Rodriguez's dark script and some nice editing work, the shake actually works well. However, it's the start of the film, as I wrote above, that really bothered me. Put simply... it's long and drawn out. Mix the shaky-style with a massive one room intro, and my fear is that some people won't give this film a chance to get good. It all comes down to the beginning with short films. The long start-up here is just not needed, especially when you can establish what's going on within a minute. We don't need the extra 2-3 to solidify the situation. We get it. Maybe keep the "inside the beer bottle" shot though. That was pretty cool!
In the end, save the long-ish intro, "Las Nenas De Papá" is a good film. A good performance, based mainly on expressions, pushed home the sad story that is the movie. The start-up could be cleaned up by removing 2-3 minutes of needless, dialog-less exposition, this would really improve the pace and gritty feel. Let's face it, this is a short film. A few minutes shorter still, makes it a short film. Once you get past the first few minutes you're left with a powerful title. One that without the extended start-up, would be easily worthy of a higher score. "Las Nenas De Papá" is simply a good watch. So look for it when it becomes available. Time well spent.
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