I'll admit it. Black and white indie movies always make me apprehensive. I see the lack of color, in this day and age, and think it's either some kind of gimmick - or that the choice was made to hide something. Usually the lack of a decent image. When you consider black and white began it's existence as a technical limitation - is it any wonder these thoughts cross my mind? It's only on the rarest of occasions, this visual choice actually works. In my humble opinion anyhow.
Despite it's obnoxious title, "Little Shit" is anything but. I may even go so far as to say it's the exact opposite, briefly exploring behavioral elements and their causes. Writer, director, Richard Gorodecky introduces us to a seemingly troubled youth - and goes that extra mile so we can visualize just how bad he is - only to then pull back the curtain revealing a larger truth. And larger it definitely is.
Paul, this movies anti-hero, may not be quite as bad as we're led to believe. His intolerable behavior may just be a defense mechanism - a preparation for the hardships he soon expects to face. If anything, the real shit of this film is the brother. Having lost his way at some point and fallen through the cracks. That will be for the viewers to decide and debate.
Essentially, the actual set-up of this film is rather simplistic. It's what lies just beneath that really gives it depth. Gorodecky has paced out and presented this story quite nicely, but those little signs and the final reveal are all crafted expertly - and not all at once. It's the second act, mainly a fishing scene, where we begin to realize Paul may not be the little shit we're led to believe. Not yet anyhow. As his day in the city continues, little cracks form within his character. By the end of the final act, I understood the true meaning of this film. I even began to wonder what the future held for this nature Vs nurture story. For Paul there was still time. Even if only just. "Little Shit" is not only entertaining to watch, but is notable to me because of the questions I could ask once the credits roll. As for the black and white canvas used to tell the story? I still hold my ground and wonder why? For myself, the lack of color didn't provide a feel of desolation. It just came across as a gimmick. One this film didn't need.
Aside from my obvious opinions on color, "Little Shit" played across my screen quite nicely. Obviously, there was not a million bucks for a Hollywood camera setup - but what we have fits the film quite nicely. The shots themselves are nicely handled, and there's a certain grit the lends itself perfectly to the subject matter. This is a mostly gritty film - save maybe the second act where things slow down a little. Even the scenes involving Paul's Mother contain an edge. Just enough to highlight the story and no more. I also want to note, that the audio here was captured excellently. A very important aspect considering the look and nature of the film.
Another production aspect worth pointing out is the acting itself. As our lead Paul, Badger Skelton did a fantastic job. Both as the little shit version of himself - and letting his real, hidden self shine through. Making us viewers believe there is still hope for him, yet showing us things could go either way. James Backway and Ashley McGuire also provide splendid performances as his family. Showing both sides of his home-life coin. I also want to mention Tommy Jessop. I'm not going to go into details regarding his particular role, but as I'm sure viewers will agree - it's an important one when moving along the story. And again, handled excellently.
When it's all said and done, "Little Shit" not only ended up being a great short film - but also a lesson on judging a book by it's cover. This simple looking short film ended up with more depth than a lot of feature length movies I've watched. A reminder that in life, we rarely see the entire story. But was this an entertaining journey? Because that's what really counts right? I'm glad to say that it was indeed. Further proof that a good story and a good cast goes a long way. A solid three and a half stars.