Todd B Harrington
Todd B Harrington
This one was a tough one for me. I don't mean that "The Night Stand" was tough to watch, rather tough to rate and even harder to write about. Todd B. Harrington's production just fits what is required to be considered a short film. A few edits, and even a transition - but essentially it feels like a monologue performed from a stage. Makes sense, considering that's essentially what it actually is. It's hard to judge something as a film, even a short film, when it walks that thin line between visual entertainment, and what could be perceived as an audition tape for a film. With all that written however, it's important to know that "The Night Stand" may have category issues, but it's quite captivating none the less - even if you don't quite always get it. I'll explain what I mean a little down the line.
The imagery presented in Harrington's short film is at first very simplistic, until you really take a look and realize there's nothing really simplistic about it. Placement, color, and light all play a huge role in the feeling you get when you watch it. As Elsbeth, the leading and only character rants on and on - it doesn't take long before you lose yourself in this short piece. The content itself is a narration, rather a reckoning that takes place during the instant of Elsbeth's death. You can actually see this prim and proper lady seem to dangle on the edge of insanity - it's all very surreal and as I wrote above, quite captivating.
We all have a poison, do you know yours? That was a line from the film that still sticks with me as I write this all down. It's a very powerful statement and its delivery is superb. Without question, Joanne M. Melanson's portrayal of Elsbeth is top-notch - her performance is what gives this short film the push it needs to go from a simple hum-drum, single scene monologue - to a very entertaining experience. You mix that with the blacked out set and it's not hard to understand why this movie is so entertaining.
... and yet... here's the thing that I kept coming back to. The story and the choice of presentation, let me explain. I watched this film without reading the description. It was surreal, excellently performed, and generally well done. But I didn't get it at all. By the end, my imagination constructed a possible story that had its holes, but still basically worked. Then... after the fact... I read the description for "The Night Stand" and things became a whole lot clearer. Had I read the description prior to watching, my whole outlook would have been different. But I didn't, and I'm not the only person who doesn't read descriptions. In my humble opinion, a story should be presented during the film. Even if it's not a whole story as is the case here. Movies are a visual medium and it's my opinion that someone shouldn't have to read about the story of a film, in order to understand it. It's the job of the movie to tell the story, not the viewer before the fact.
At the end of the day? "The Night Stand" still captivated me enough, even not fully understanding it, to have no problem recommending to friends. All things considered, I found it good enough to award three stars even though it only barely meets the criteria of actually being a film. Along with the concerns about how the story was presented, I was still captured by "The Night Stand" and fully drawn into this moment of death scenario. And that's what it's all about, isn't it? How a film draws you in and entertains you. I am curious on what will come next but for now, well done, a solid three stars.