Live....Die....It's always your choice.
Written By: Mark Schwab
Directed By: Mark Schwab
Mark Schwab hit on a rather unique concept with his short film "The Choice Point" no matter how you want to slice it. The simple yet fresh idea, in loose terms, puts a new spin on life, death and how we end up at both these points. An interesting mix of a good idea, and the ability to articulate it onscreen easily make this a winning short film. Some issues present themselves however, mainly in the form of technical limitations; that doesn't stop this from being an enjoyable 12 minutes though, especially when you realize how some of the said difficulties are handled. The bottom line is really quite simple: As a short film "The Choice Point" both entertains and may make you think just a little. There's nothing wrong with that.
As a low budget indie production, some well known issues usually always exist. Mainly stemming from the budgetary restrictions on independent productions. Surprisingly, "The Choice Point" has addressed the usual "staple issues" with some interesting fixes, yet is not as problem free as one would hope. In the place of the usual technical difficulties, we are treated to some odd directorial choices that for me, simply didn't work out all the time. For starters, what was with the excessive use of very close framed shots? Generally, the extreme close-up is used tastefully to show the real emotion of a character. In "The Choice Point", the bulk of the entire production uses this type of close framing. The result is that at times, the flick comes across as a Youtube video and not a stylistic short film. By no means am I writing that every shot should be an "epic wide shot", but by the same reasoning the extreme close-up should be used only when called for, and not become the norm. Luckily, the three main cast members do a great job with their characters, making these shots an occasional hindrance and not something to get bent out of shape over.
Speaking a little more on the cast themselves, I really thought they pulled off their respective characters rather well. A time or two some of the dialog felt scripted, with lines like: "What do you think is going to happen", instead of "What do you thinks going to happen". The proper use of the sentence would have been good if the character spoke using exact phrasing, all the time. He doesn't however, making the use of exact grammar seem off and out of place when it is used. Aside from slight dialog peeves like that, the acting is quite top notch and I was never actually brought out of the film thinking: Ugh. Bad acting.
I should also mention the pleasure I felt when Director Mark Schwab decided to use a "speaking in my mind" approach to the outside segment. Not only did it work great for the film, but it was also an awesome fix to flaky outdoor audio. Excellent choice.
I really enjoyed watching this short film. An excellent concept executed in a decent, practiced way. This isn't an action flick, or a horror movie. It's something that just may make you think a bit when it's over. The run-time is perfect, even for the busy world of today, and most people will easily fall into Mark Schwab's little world for a spell... I know I did.
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