In case you're wondering, "Ruby Woo" is a lipstick. Notorious for being used by rebels - and anyone who really doesn't want to conform. People who fall into the alternative category, even if only self proclaimed. "Ruby Woo" the film, from directors Lucy Owens and Vincent Piccirilli, use this cosmetic as a catalyst for change. Exploration. Or perhaps that's really only the shallow way to look at things. Perhaps the conclusions I've drawn above are completely wrong, and the protagonist lipstick more clearly showcases self awareness and discovery. You, the viewer, will have to make that determination yourself.
It all starts with an off-screen breakup. Breakups are hard at the best of times, but we're led to believe this mysterious woman in question, Fiona, was a long term romance. These two did live together after all. Usually a sign of a long term commitment.
As our heartbroken hero methodically packs all Fiona's stuff with his best friend, the two begin a journey that starts with a lost - and found - tube of lipstick. I'd really love to refer to these guys by name, but I'm ninety nine percent sure names are never given. Only the woman we never see gets a name in this film and frankly, in it's own kind of way, this works well for this short movie. These guys are just two random dudes navigating the end of an era, with themselves as their only meaningful company. Now back to the lipstick...
... Seemingly such an innocent, teeny tube of red mush sets off a journey that hypothetically, could change the lives of these two men forever. All of this film, all of "Ruby Woo" owes itself to a tube of lipstick. Well... a tube of lipstick and some thoughtful writing by Owens and Piccirilli.
Technically, "Ruby Woo" looks like an indie film. This isn't an insult in any way because independent film really does have it's own look. I never wrote that this movie looked cheap. Not at all. Maybe a little washed out with a definite contrast - yet also very polished and planned. One could argue that the indie look actually helps with the mood of the film. They would be correct. I'm not sure the same atmosphere could have been created with a million dollar budget for production and visuals. For a fourteen minute title, "Ruby Woo" packs a lot of production charm.
Tucker Martin and Zachary Polivka, as our dynamic duo, manage to pull off some truly believable performances. These guys could be, and maybe even are, good friends in real life. There is a definite chemistry between the two that easily translates to screen. Although rich in dialog, a lot of the interactions and reactions in this film are silent. Gestures over words - and it all works nicely. One of the better acted micro movies I've seen recently. No question about that.
At the end of the day this was a really good film. So much information and emotion packed into a few short minutes... and packed in just right. Although quick, "Ruby Woo" doesn't feel rushed. It also doesn't feel long of draggy. My only real complaint? The lack of an aftermath.
I would have loved to have seen what happened next. The next day. The next month. Regrets? Continuance? Anything really. I just felt that on the verge of an awakening, the results were denied to my eyes and ears. My mind. An easier way to describe what I was feeling? "Ruby Woo" felt like a small piece of a larger narrative. A teaser of sorts... or an origin story. I'm not writing another twenty minutes would have been great - rather even a quick glimpse of life a month later. I suppose that old saying applies. Leave them wanting more? I just wish there had been some.
When it's all said and done? A great short film. It's funny what stories can come from a small tube of lipstick. Funny in a good way.