(Photo Courtesy of A Betsy Cow Production)
Flashing, is a slick, stylish short film which presents a great message in an unfortunately overwrought manner.
The film follows Jeff (Chris Alan), a successful fashion photographer who spends most of his time glued to his cell-phone chasing clients instead of doting on his loving son Sam (Kenta Asars) and wife Laura (Nina Fehren). We begin the story on a rooftop, where Jeff, with camera in hand, grimly ruminates on his past. As he does, we enter a couple of flashbacks which illustrate Jeff’s negligent parenting method. First, we see him forgetting to pick up Sam from school after getting caught up in a flashy shoot. Next, we find him distractedly talking on the phone while on a family outing to a playground, disappointing his son. Infuriated, Laura harshly reprimands Jeff for never making time for her or Sam; it’s clear their relationship is on thin ice. We then pull out to where we started, with Jeff precariously perched on the rooftop. He’s finally come to terms with his mistakes, but will it all be for naught?
It must be said that director Ricardo Ramos (who also co-wrote the film with star Alan) has an ease and confidence behind the camera which makes for solid blocking, good shot selection, and a natural knack for camera placement. Clearly, Ramos had a strong rapport with cinematographer Tarina Van Den Driessche, resulting in a strikingly professional visual aesthetic. However, as good as the film looks, the performance at its core is significantly less compelling. Though Fehren and Asars deliver perfectly competent performances as Laura and Sam respectively, Alan’s turn as Jeff is stiff and unconvincing. It seemed as though every emotional beat in his dialogue is slightly over-played for maximum tear jerking effect—which of course nullifies any real sense of feeling in the material. Admittedly, the script itself is a bit ham-fisted as well; full of on-the-nose dialogue without any hint of nuance or subtext.
Ultimately, though, this film delivers a simple, positive message in a concise way—an attribute which must be praised no matter how blunt and obtuse said way might be. Though I may not be a fan of the writing, it is, it the very least to-the-point, which stands in stark contrast to the many wannabe philosophers who allow their shorts to drag on and on after overstuffing them with “deep” monologues. So, despite its many shortcomings, Flashing is at very least in possession of that most rare attribute for shorts looking to tour the festival circuit: humility.
A Betsy Cow Production
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