VIMEO Awards 2012: Human Beings

Here we are for another review on the contestants for the narrative short film category at the VIMEO Awards 2012.

You can find more information about this year’s VIMEO Awards clicking here. For the list of short films taking part in the narrative lineup, click here.

Our next-to-last reviewed short film is Human Beings, by Jonathan Entwistle:

A guy, dressed as a zebra, is called by a friend. The friend comes up all excited, wearing the same sort of costume, yet our first introduced Benny doesn’t seem thrilled. Benny shuts down the mockery and his friend reminds him that “she’ll be there”. They put their zebra masks and walk to the party.

It’s one hell of party and poor are the bastards responsible to clean it up. It’s crowded of people. Benny is left alone and he spots this girl, dressed as an unicorn. She notices him, smiles. But soon a guy dressed as a lion stands up and picks her by the hand. The friend comes back and asks Benny to follow him. Before going Benny sees a red-haired geek starring at him. The zebras take some drugs and the party turns in slow-motion to them.

— 2-minute mark, the costumes are charming and i’m starting to get used to the british accent, thank god. We don’t have much, however we do have the typical conflict: boy wants girl, but she already has a date. Hopefully the drug scene will come up for a better purpose later on, so as the red-headed girl. Shall we proceed?

The boys have some fun in the dance floor, the friends hooks up with a girl and she takes him someplace more private. Benny, left alone, wanders by the house corridors, away from the crowd. He finds a trio of animals, including the lion, smoking in a living room. They notice him and Benny keeps walking. He reaches for a cigarrete but catches sight of the unicorn girl. They get closer. She put his hood on his head. Scared, she sees the lion leaving the room, hides Benny around the corner.

— We’re beyond 5-minutes and not much happened. The mood is great, still things could have been told faster. Nevertheless, the lion possibly saw the zebra and if all goes well the following scenes will make it up for the slow introduction.

Benny wakes up inside a car in the middle of nowhere. One hell of a hangover. The red-haired girl looks him from outside. She runs away. Benny leaves the car. Lights a cigarrette. Finds his friend’s zebra costume hang between a couple sticks.  The red-hair advices him that she knows where they took his friend. Seems that the lion captured the friend, placing him as the zebra hitting on his girlfriend, the unicorn.

Benny stomps through the valley, looking after his friend. Until he notices skittles in the ground. And the unicorn girl selecting only the colors she likes, sit in a rock. They chat a bit, she comments that Scott, the lion, is a prick. She tells Benny she’s not actually Scott’s girlfriend. Yet, He must find Aaron (the friend). She knows a shortcut

— Phew! 9 minutes already. The twist is great, misplacing identities. Quite hard to use it in a short film, specially if you’re going for a different set up, is not like your main character was mistaken by a persona non grata, but the opposite. This is very good. Still, the scene with the crush in the middle of nowhere seems a bit precipitated. There wouldn’t be a problem meeting her at the same place Benny finds his friend.

As the couple walk by, several customized character cross them. They’re spot by a man dressed as gorilla. He runs away to warn the antagonists. Aaron is tied up in long pole, ready to be burnt as a witch. The lion is making a speech about how bold the zebra were to trespass into his territory. But now Benny is there. Aaron sees him, tells him to beat it. The lion is disappointed to see his girl with the zebra and throws gasoline at Aaron. Lights a cigarrette, ready to set the friend on fire. Benny tackles him to the ground. The crowd cracks up in laughter. The red-haired girl unties Aaron. Benny goes beside his unicorn. The lion is in the ground. Benny and Aaron leave, until the latter threatens the enemy and the rest of the lion’s pack pursuit them. The zebras run away.

— There are two bad things about Human Beings, which is a good short film.

— I can’t forgive the slow setup, you just can afford an introduction to consume half of your film length. That’s one of the reasons to dismiss an idea, despite how good it might be. If you can’t situate a problem quickly, it’s no good. It’s better to have a 5-minute film which sets up in the first minute than a 10-minute film that needs 5-minutes to do the blah blah blah.

— The forbidden relationship with the girl is part of the plot’s core, yet this film seems to prefer the tag of a buddy film. We’re not only expecting Benny to face Scott to save his friend, but to get the girl, since she’s the real prize, the objective. Still, after beating the lion, the girl comment about the tackle and that’s it. He likes her, whom is interested on him. SO WHY THE HELL CAN’T THEY ACTUALLY BE TOGETHER? You can’t develop an expectation and don’t follow it when your movie is over. The viewer should be satisfied completely. All dots must be connected.

— How to solve that? Just make the girl follow the guys and run with them. Why not? Thinking a little bit further, remember that i complaint about the meeting with the girl in the wild? The film doesn’t need the red-haired girl, just cut her out and place OUR girl warning Benny about his friend. Do that and remove the dyed red hair, you won’t miss her, believe me. The unicorn can do everything she does PLUS raising the intimacy with Benny.

RATING: 6/10

Review’s schedule:

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; (read)
25/05: Hooked, by Stuart Howe; (read)
26/05: Pothound, by Christopher Guiness; (read)
27/05: The Division of Gravity, by Rob Chiu; (read)
28/05: Blinky™, by Ruairi Robinson; (read)
29/05: Human Beings, by Jonathan Entwistle;
30/05: Ham Sandwich, by Dave Green.

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