Premise: As the world begins to lose its gravity, the human race faces the inevitability of its destruction. Amidst the impending end of the world, Jeremy realises that he has a confession to make.
Brink (Short Film) from Shawn Christensen on Vimeo.
Review: This film is built on the simplest but most effective premise. When you know that the world is ending, what becomes a priority for you? A pre-Oscar winning Shawn Christensen takes us into a dying world and takes the unusual option of focusing on every moment of breathtaking beauty that is borne, ironically from man’s imminent demise. Another unusual step is taken when we are introduced to Jeremy (War of the Worlds’ Justin Chatwin).
We open on Jeremy writing a letter to Evelyn (Allison Huntington Chase), the woman he loves confessing his true feelings for her. Rather than take us on a journey of realisation that leads to the decision to tell the love of his life, how he feels about her, we start the film with that decision being made. As such, the movie we are given is a snapshot of a terminal mind. Someone who knows the end is coming and has no further time to waste on uncertainty and equivocation. Instead Jeremy wants to take in everything around him; all of the subtle perfections and imperfections that go unnoticed in everyday lives that we always assume will go on forever.
There is a serenity that pervades this film that feels very much like acceptance and in this acceptance Jeremy, with nothing left to fear, makes it clear that the only thing left to achieve is to have nothing left unsaid. One of the great strengths of this film is that while love is a central theme and motivation, it does not give itself over to grand romantic gestures. There is a simple statement of truth and the unspoken hope that maybe Evelyn will choose to spend the final moments of the human race with him. As for the rest of the film, Christensen delights in showing us the perfect simplicity of the little things and how the slowly increasing loss of gravity begins to affect them. This means that from the outset we are given some impressive images from the letter he writes to Evelyn floating and spinning off of the table and American flags eerily floating upwards to the stunning shot of Evelyn reading Jeremy’s letter in front of an open window, revealing shovels, umbrellas and other random objects hovering stories off the ground.
Christensen opts for next to no dialogue, instead using the floating objects almost as a countdown to oblivion as more and more objects can be seen in the air the closer we get to the end of the movie. This is a particularly wise move as there is actually nothing left to say, which makes the eventual meeting of Jeremy and Evelyn that much more powerful. Everything that they need to say to each other is evident through brilliantly understated performances from Chatwin and Chase whose expressions alone reveal more than words ever could. The effects used to lift so many objects off the ground are virtually seamless and avoid playing like a gimmick due to the, at times ingenious ways that these objects are revealed. One especially inspired shot shows an overexposed sky as the sun sets behind our two characters. As the camera movement places Evelyn in front of the sun, the exposure drops, revealing a sky full of trash, cutlery, cinderblocks and more.
Cinematography plays a large part in crafting this world on the brink of extinction. Christensen takes on shooting duties as well as directing and does a fine job of capturing not just humanity’s twilight but using shadow so well in Jeremy’s apartment as he writes Evelyn’s letter and again later as Jeremy watches a news cast confirming that the world will definitely soon end. There is an isolation that Christensen creates as he surrounds (but not envelops) Chatwin in shadow. He paints the picture of someone who will not simply die in the loneliness of his home, but will break through that isolation and reconnect with the world around him, even in its final moments.
This is a very stylised film and relies on surrealism to undercut the undeniable horror and despair that would be rampant throughout the world at such a time. Even the manner in which the world is ending is a gradual and gentle process. We get the impression that Christensen’s apocalypse is designed as a reminder to each of us not to neglect the beauty of our world, even at its most chaotic and not to take for granted all that we can bring to each other’s lives, especially in the face of our own deaths.
Studio: Fuzzy Logic Pictures Year: 2011 Genre: Romance/Drama Duration: 9 mins Suitability: General
Cast: Justin Chatwin Allison Huntington Chase
Crew: Director: Shawn Christensen Producer: Damon Russell Writer: Shawn Christensen