Recently Alex Ferrari sent me a copy of the short movie he’s just completed along with his co-writer/producer Jorge F. Rodriguez, called Broken. Going by the trailer I’d seen on the site I wasn’t sure what to expect, it looked slick, it looked high budget, but it was cut really fast making it difficult to gleam much from it other than style. In a fifteen minute short, I guess that is to be expected of its trailer.
Ferrari is someone who comes from the conventional film making routes but became bored and disillusioned with the whole process, and I would presume industry. He turned his back on this high budget, overly engineered process and looked to see if he could make an independent movie for a small budget and still make it look and feel like a Hollywood movie.
The question is did he succeed? Well I think that’s slightly unfair to ask so early on, so let’s just look at the short first and then we can make a decision.
When I started to think about this review I looked at the different elements of the short. The story is pretty simple and is connected to two simple ideals, Kafka and Hitchcock. It looks at someone who is taken from their normal surroundings and existance and pulled into a world they don’t understand with events spiralling around them. It’s a classic and effective tale to tell, and also quite stunning to get across in a mere fifteen minutes, but they do. The paranoia and confusion that you see throughout Le Procès (The Trial) and North by Northwest is there, and tangible.
What does strike you throughout the movie are the high production values. The lighting is superb, dark, tight and claustraphobic. The effects are very visual and don’t fail to impress when you realise the budget involved and the products and process used.
For me there were a couple of jarring moments that took me out of the movie briefly, and they were all down to some of the actors in a more action sequence just not committing themselves totally and therefore slightly missing the mark. There’s also one stock moment that slightly disappointed me because up to that point it had all felt so fresh and unique.
Not that much I’m sure you’ll agree, and definitely not so annoying that your experience will be marred by it. You’re likely to see much more of these in any fifteen minutes of a Hollywood movie with hundred times the budget and production possibilities, and much, much less style and passion.
For me the bad, or is it good, guy played by Paul Gordon is the winner in this piece as far as the actors go. He’s slow, deliberate and doesn’t give out too much. There’s enough brooding badness to suit and yet a touch of something more hidden in the background…we’ll never know, the fifteen minutes are up and you’re left with your imagination and many questions, and that’s a big win in my book. Unlike most Hollywood movies when the credits role and you start to think about the trip home, what’s for tea, work tomorrow, this filled you with questions and a desire to work out who, what, why.
So, does it manage to do it? Without a doubt. The camera work, editing, restrained writing and likewise performances bring it all across wonderfully. With a little more on some of the actors more action performances and effects you would never have realised it wasn’t a full budget Hollywood short.
Ferrari, Rodriguez, Gordon and the rest of the team are definitely people to look out for.