Following a tragic loss, a husband and wife must find their way back to the light.
Written By: D. Erik Parks
Directed By: Jake Hutchison,
D. Erik Parks
"Return To The Garden" is one of those short films that force you to watch straight through till the end. Why wouldn't you? Everything needed for a good drama is here, Erik Parks no doubt spent a good amount of time writing it to be just that way. All the dramatic elements are present, even if only hinted at. Let me put it this way, "Return To The Garden" features a lot things you don't actually witness. The way it's put together however, leaves no room for a misunderstanding of what's happening onscreen. As a short film, this is not only a brilliant way to condense a story, but also a great way to ensure it's viewers keep watching. Presented is a sad story no matter how you cut it, but the real beauty is the way it finishes. Things always work out right? Everything happens for a reason right? If not for one bad situation, a good one would simply never present itself. That seems to be the name of the game and although the story is left rather open ended, we, the viewers can draw our own long term conclusions.
The technical side of this film was a tough one to tackle. At first glance we have some beautiful aerial shots and an overall nice production, hands down. But wait! I'm not done. The cinematography and post production work of this film goes from visually awesome to... well, more of the same. Confused? Let me explain.
Although it could be considered a stylistic choice, this film plays off like a never ending dream. Pretty much every shot looks the same. Overblown and with some kind of blur effect used for every image in the movie. It really looks like the movie takes place in an alternate dream world! This is a great visual experience when used properly, but to use it for an entire production gave everything a dreamy fake feeling. The contrast of this Vs the story was quite unnerving. We also have a good chunk of drone shots, the same ones I complimented above. However, I felt a lot of these were not needed, and more a gimmick than a tool for the filmmakers. "Look at my new toy" seemed to be the theme of the production, especially when some of these shots warped and wobbled a little; while not pushing the narrative forward at all. Some of these could have been replaced with more standardized shots.
The cast themselves performed admirably, pushing their onscreen persona just to the point of being believable, and not going overboard. Through the use of cleverly written small talk and facial expressions, when the actors do have something to say it pushes through the hum-drum loud and clear. An excellent job all around.
Through all my ranting on some of the technical elements of this film, let's be clear. You may love everything I have questioned above. It's all personal preference right? As for "Return To The Garden" as an entire short film, this was one of the better ones I've seen so far this year. An excellent story that could happen to any of us, and has happened to many. Clocking in at around 14 minutes you really have no reason not to watch this one. It's a freebie and the links are to the left.
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