Stars: Kasim Aslam, Matthew Dearing and Suzanne Ziad
|This film was an official selection at the Phoenix Film Festival in Phoenix in 2013. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 films.|
He does a good job here, but Matthew Dearing is better still as Darren. He's the heart and soul of this film, the hub around which it revolves and the pivot upon which it flips. There are twin halves to the story and he's in both of them. One tasks him with counselling Arthur, with whom he grew up. 'He's been my best friend since before I had a memory,' he explains to Arthur's depressed wife Andrea in the other, during which he counsels her too, before her death. Given that Darren is able to prescribe medication, he clearly isn't just a friend called upon in times of need, he's also a professional doctor. He's very focused and he doesn't blink much, as if he's absorbed by the task at hand and won't be distracted from it in any way. He seems like the sort of dedicated therapist we might want, if we want that sort of thing but, as a player in both halves of the story, he clearly has a further, darker role to play in proceedings that requires further viewings to fully appreciate.
There's a lot to think about once this film is over, which is one reason why it played so well as the last film in the Arizona Shorts selection at this year's Phoenix Film Festival. The set began weakly, but built well. I'd happily recommend Mission Control, Screaming in Silence and Pensil to anyone, though they share almost nothing in common except being interesting local films. The standouts for me were this and The Violation, each of which is carefully crafted, satisfies within its running time and still prompts much thought afterwards. I don't know who deserves the most praise. Clearly Aslam owns the film as much as anyone, as its writer and co-star, but he co-directed with Joshua M Lambeth, who also shot and edited the film, shining in all those roles. Dearing's superb work on screen matches the often ambient but gently leading score by Christopher Nastri. My lesson is that I haven't seen enough work by any of these people and I should remedy that fact soon. That and to figure out the title of this one.
Shift can be viewed for free on Vimeo and YouTube.