After much waiting and anticipation, it’s here. The film I’ve been curious about for several months, one written and directed by a good friend from Twitter. That film is Earrings.
From the beginning, you can tell that writer/director Alex Withrow is one of ‘those’ filmmakers. One of those filmmakers that loves the medium that he is using to create a story, from the way it is constructed, to the excellent way music is used throughout, especially during the film’s best sequence. The cinematography and shot choice is particularly noteworthy, using long, uninterrupted shots, following the lead character around, creating a sense of voyeurism, as if we are truly being shown the reality of this woman. Nothing is hidden.
The story is simple – a woman dealing with tragedy. And the story is well told, something that seems to be missing from some films that favour spectacle in place of something as basic as a well told story.
At the heart of the film is Catherine Warner, who gives an excellent central performance. Throughout the majority of the film, she is quiet, reserved and nuanced, wonderfully drawing the viewer into the way she deals with what has been thrown at her. She speaks very little, but her mannerisms, which are simple and minimal, do a great deal to convene the core of her character. This silence only makes her breakdown more disturbingly serene and powerful.
Much like the central performance, the majority of the film is quiet. In fact, there is only one scene with a large amount of dialogue (I can’t help but be reminded of Steve McQueen’s Hunger). And in this film, silence is golden, used to show tragedy, sorrow, and a host of repressed emotions.
Is it without flaws? No, unfortunately not. Some of the cuts and edits in the shots feel too frantic for the context in which they’re used, and in places, the final section feels tonally different to the rest of it to the point where some of its effect becomes lost, as can be said for some of the dialogue, which feels a little too, for want of better phrasing, drawn out, to have the same raw emotional power of the quieter sections.. But all in all, it is an well made, and well acted story of a woman in free fall.
It’s a short film, at about 30 minutes in length. I ask you to simply take the time to watch it and tell me what you think.
While the film is imperfect, it has a wonderful passion for the craft, and you can tell that Alex’s artistic vision for the piece has been realised. For both it’s writer/director and its star, I hope for great things in the future. If this is a sign of what’s to come, watch out for these two talents to emerge in glorious fashion.
Watch Earrings here – http://www.andsoitbeginsfilms.com/2012/07/earrings-film.html