We seem to be getting a lot of great indie flicks submitted recently, and Revell Carpenter's "Cypress" is one of them. Anyone with siblings will agree, family can be tough. Whoever said blood is thicker; family is everything must have had the perfect life. Because although family relationships are meant to be life-long, estrangement is literally always a few paces behind. Especially when it comes to expectations and embarrassment. It's so much easier to make up a story about a less than perfect parent or sibling, in order to fit in better with peers, than the actual truth. For those that follow that path there's still more - the regret for feeling the need to fib in the first place. It's one of those never-ending cycles. For the two sisters in this story, their mother is the cause of their relationship breakdown. "Cypress" is a relationship drama that far to many people can probably relate with, making this film all the more effective.
First and foremost I want to say this. The acting in this film is excellent, as is the production quality. The film itself is just under ten minutes, but paced and edited near-perfectly allowing it to essentially glide across your screen. There's definitely some spit and polish, and the results speak for themselves.
But is this story a good one? By that I mean, does it feel whole? Sure. There is an opening, a middle and some credits but honestly, I found the story missing something. The easiest way to describe it is to write that "Cypress" feels like a scene out of a larger film. We get the bare minimum of details, and the cast sure get to show off their acting chops, but it just feels like a piece. A fraction of the whole story. We never get many details about the mother, who is the cause of friction between the two sisters. Only that she's somewhere and she's sick. Sick how? We get a little, but not enough to actually form an opinion. Is she in jail? Is she in a mental facility? An old age home? Why exactly is she a person to be embarrassed about? There simply is not enough context, that I could see. The film also made a point to let us know that one of the sisters is extremely anxious. Perhaps using a little to many nail picking shots in the process. Is this a hint that maybe she is sick as well? Or just nervous about confronting her sister. It's all a bit ambiguous.
However, at the end of the day, I'm just nit-picking. "Cypress" stands on its own as an excellently put together piece of short film. My complaints about a lack of context could simply be me wanting the film to be longer - and that's a great compliment from any viewer. Was I entertained watching? Yes reader, I was. Revell Carpenter has no problem keeping people watching. I just wish there was a bit more to see.