Ugh. This pandemic has been brutal, and reading that back feels like I'm understating things significantly. No matter your profession or political views, or even state of mind - you simply can't deny the impact Covid-19 has had on, well, everything, and that includes indie film. There has been an influx of movies lately that relate to the pandemic and its various influences on our scared population - in one form or another. Perhaps the best of these Covid themed films I've seen so far is this one from Angela and Stephen Bell. "400 Days Later" gets straight to the point and delivers a powerful and sad message. A message quite a few of us will have no problem relating with - in some form or another.
The film focuses on Natalie, who has decided on a profession that, at the best of times, is tough - an actress. As most of us know or could guess, however, during the pandemic, the life of the artistic soul has become ridiculously harder. That's to be expected considering the actor's nature, but "400 Days Later" quickly moves beyond Natalie's profession and straight to the emotional side of things. We've all heard, or know personally, that the social barriers during the pandemic have been tough on many people. Still, when you consider the pre-pandemic nature of an actor, the social aspects, you can imagine things would be that much harder. What better way to get the point made than using an extreme example - right? Actors thrive on human interaction. Take that away, and the results are shown in this film. Extreme enough to tell the story, yet not quite to the extreme of a severe breakdown. Not quite. The short and sweet of it? This was a great film - honest and true.
The technical aspects of "400 Days Later" need minimal discussion. Everything from the "to the point" camera work to the excellent cast portrayals just feeds the machine pushing this story. There's so much to love about the technical choices being kept on the down-to-earth level that I feel the need to actually write that. Everything pushes you into the story - it's not about the flash and pizazz used to cover up a lousy narrative. In particular, I loved a scene involving Natalie trying to look happy and supportive of a friend who is doing very well - a while trying to hold back the tears. You see, reader, "400 Days Later" doesn't just focus on the bad but also touches on the good that's come out of the pandemic for some folks. When you see this short film, you'll understand - but it adds a huge layer of depth to the story—one hundred percent.
When it's all said and done, as you can probably tell by my rating, I really, really enjoyed this short film. There was just so much that hit very close to home for me, and I could relate to almost everything showcased during the movie. I was hooked, and at the end of the day? That's all that really matters, right? "400 Days Later" is a great example of life for the last while - for many of us. All brought to life onscreen in a way most will instantly recognize. Four and a half stars. Well done.