Here we are for another review on the contestants for the narrative short film category at the VIMEO Awards 2012.
Tonight’s short film is The Hive, by Blind Aura Pictures.
A man inside a car, counting money kept on a tinbox. Another car arrives from behind. He hides the box and leaves the car. “Where the fuck have you been?” he asks the second car’s driver whom tries to explain but is interrupted by some mumble i can’t understand for sure because of the accent. Nothing against british accent, it just makes it really hard for me the way it is spoken in the film. I know we have british readers, wouldn’t mind for you to list some of the dialogues.
Whatever. Seems like our main character received an assignment and a warning. Perhaps he’s on a drill he can’t get away. He puts a bag in the back of his car while the other man drives away. The man wakes up a boy, looks like a poor shed. He tells the boy to get back to sleep, but the young refuses. They have conflict, one line of dialogue each. Bit abrupt. The man leaves the shed.
— The main character is on warning, possibly at some dirty organization, has problems home, the film is setting up pretty quickly and this comment comes from before the 2-minute mark. Perhaps too briskly. Yet looks good so far.
He drives his van into a farm and apiary. Stops at the sign. Takes the bag given earlier and picks a bolt cutter, cuts the entrance gate’s chain. He turns back to his van and the boy is dressing a costume. The man demands that he takes it off. The boy possibly declines, but i can’t understand what he says. Nevertheless, the man changes his mind and helps the boy to dress the outfit: a full beekeeping protective suit. They get in the van and move close to the hive. The man got a suit himself. He picks something from the back of the van. There’s a house nearby, its owner wakes up. The boy leaves the van, both walk to the hives. While the boy gets disturbed by the bees flying around him, the man places pieces of foam at the hives’ holes, locking the bees inside. Meanwhile, the place owner is shaving calmly. One by one, they bring the full covered hives into the back of the van. The apiarist ties his boots and get his shotgun shells. The man helps the boy to load the next hive. They have a happy dialogue exchange until the man sees the apiarist coming at them with the shotgun aimed. He hits the hive and it falls on the ground, breaking apart. They get in the van and escape. The farmer is devastated.
— We’re around the seventh minute and i was missing some action, the farmer came up at the right time. So far this film is decent, just not outstanding.
While driving away the man brags about the future this theft opens for them, but the boy doesn’t look well. He takes away the veil from the suit and he was stung all over his face. The car is a mess and the man can’t find whatever he was looking for. The van returns to farm. The apiarist loads the shotgun. With the boy on his arms and the gun pointed to his face, the man pleads for help. The farmer checks the van for the car keys. The place is a mess. He asks for the man to follow him into the house. The farmer applies an injection in the boy. The farmer comments about when the man, a teen then, used to run around. The man’s name is Louis. He carries the boy to bed and takes off his shoes. The farmer brings biscuits and water.
— Good or bad, structurally this film is doing great. there’s an event popping up each 2-minutes. The robbery, the shooting, the getaway, the sick boy, the conflict in returning, the past revelation. Great use of tools in order to get the film going.
The farmer requests Louis to put the hives back in place and repress him for the boy’s fate. Thoughtful, Louis does what he was told to. Gets a photograph, an even younger boy, from the back door, put it in the tincan box and leave it over the hives. He gets in the car and drives away, sorrowful. The farmer finds the tincan box; the money; the picture. Stares the road.
— This is our first straightforward linear narrative short film so far that does the job well. And we’re talking mostly about a character-driven script with outer motivation, which is just the category you wish to go. As i’ve said more than once, the hardest part about doing a character driven short film is that you have no time developing the characters, this left the film with a wishy-washy third act. Part of this issue resides in the first act, when the boy is introduced, that conflict weakens the ending because we must pass through a moment of reconciliation (carrying the hives) before creating a friendly bond between them. Those six minutes could give us more time to absorb the relationship and give further understanding of the film’s conclusion.
— The second act is solid, the burglary, the escape and specially the return. Going back to the farm is the real life changing event here and it is a solid core for the climax of the movie. It’s a life or death matter for Louis and he will face tough consequences by any means. It has urgency and stakes. If you weren’t attached to this story until now, i bet that when he took that veil off you did.
— The beginning of the third act initiate the undermining of the story. I feel that the direct conflict, the surrender for the boy’s sake could be pushed further, honestly, i haven’t realized what the farmer saw that made him change his mind when checking the car, but i should. There should be some strong motivation there. Subsequently, the past recall frustrates the ending. It was dispensable. What does that affect the ending? If we had a better relation between Louis and the boy (is his name Ben? I might have missed something), we wouldn’t need to hurry up so lately in the story and appeal to this kind of resource.
— By the conclusion, Louis realizes that “Ben” would do better of without him and goes away. It’s a good ending, solid, but the pathway until it is too misty. We can feel that Louis changed his mind, we just don’t know exactly why. Still, The Hive does a pretty decent job on its conditions and strives to deliver coherent characters, yet not fully satisfactory.
19/05: The Ghosts, by Eddie O’Keefe; (read)
20/05: Prologue, by Bradley W. Ragland; (read)
21/05: Webcam, by Zbros Productions; (read)
22/05: A Bitch, by Matthew Miller; (read)
23/05: Left Right, by Tom Willems; (read)
24/05: The Hive, by Blind Aura Pictures;
25/05: Hooked, by Stuart Howe;
26/05: Pothound, by Christopher Guiness;
27/05: The Division of Gravity, by Rob Chiu;
28/05: Blinky™, by Ruairi Robinson;
29/05: Human Beings, by Jonathan Entwistle;
30/05: Ham Sandwich, by Dave Green.