Monday 13 August 2012

Freeborn (2010)

Director: Carlo Treviso
Stars: Chris Agos, Kristen Kruchowski and Megan Farris

'Every generation needs a new revolution,' said Thomas Jefferson, and that sets our tone for a rather short take on Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Trying to condense that sort of depth and parallel to history into a six minute short is ambitious almost to the point of insanity but writer/director Carlo Treviso gives it a pretty good shot. He transfers the story from the Moon to Mars, though we remain Earthbound. It's fifty years after the colonisation of Mars began and we watch a pivotal moment in time unfold through faux CNN footage, with decent photography of Washington, DC, and solid acting from Chris Agos and Kristen Kruchowski. Agos is Andrew Ashur, a freeborn Martian, who serves as some sort of resistance leader fighting against growing oppression from the Earth, but he's been captured and beaten. Kruchowski is Orlena, his friend and lawyer, who wants him to play ball to save his neck, but he won't swear his allegiance to Earth.

Treviso made a short in 2005 called The Vitruvian Man and he plays the same roles here: as writer, producer, editor and director. He also works the visual effects here, though they're inconsistent. The story is a neat encapsulation of a macro event into a micro scale, cleverly written not just by showing us certain things but by not showing us everything else. What's not shown here is just as important as what is shown. The direction is solid and the editing is slick. The computer graphics aren't bad at all, though I don't know how well they'd play on a big screen. The faux CNN footage is good and Megan Farris is an able narrator. The spaceship action shots are excellent, though the detail isn't there and is hidden mostly by fast editing. The fire on the ground is less capable but it's good to see that we don't need Jerry Bruckheimer to take out American landmarks. I'd happily watch this six minute short another couple of times rather than face Independence Day.

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